Post by Jason Plotkin
It’s a little after 6am as I’m sitting here in the kitchen of the Wrightsville fire department writing this blog post. A photo below is what the rest of the station is currently doing.
When I first got here at 11pm last night, I was ready to follow this group of firefighters out into the Hurricane that is Sandy and photograph their battles against the elements. At first I toured the roads with the fire chief and saw a few downed trees like below.
After that, the busiest thing was keeping an ear and eye out for trouble from inside of the station.
But mostly what I got, was a bunch of sleeping firefighters.
And I’m glad. And proud.
I actually began preparing for this storm last week when YDR reporter Rebecca Lefever and I began calling various fire departments around the county asking them to sign up to the social networking tool Twitter. You see, we believe that the use of Twitter during emergency situations is a great way to get out accurate information quickly. And thankfully, so did the chiefs from various departments.
Before and during the storm, Eureka (out of Stewartstown), West York, York city, York Area United (which covers Spring Garden and Springettsbury) and Wrightsville tweeted out about roads closed, trees down and informations about school closings and shelters that were open.
And I couldn’t be more proud. You see, it was days before this historic storm was supposed to pound the East Coast and the center of it was supposed to land right on top of us. These fire departments had enough to worry about. I could honestly say that most of them had never used Twitter before. Many had never even heard of it. But when the day was here, so were they. Tweeting. Getting out information. Accurately and quickly.
And I’m was damn proud. Not just of these fire departments, but also of the residents of York County.
When I started my shift at the York Daily Record at 10 am yesterday morning, I had expectations of documenting a disaster like I’ve never faced in my twenty years here in York. Yes, it was raining very hard. Yes, it was windy at times. But what it was missing was disaster.
And I’m glad. And proud.
I drove around York County all day yesterday. From Conewago Township and Dover to York City, Glen Rock, Seven Valleys and Wrightsville.
York city seemed abandoned. At times I drove around the county and didn’t see another driver for miles. Although Sandy was blustering outside, York Countians decided to be inside.
Prepared and safe.
It appeared that people listened to the warnings and stayed off the streets. For the most part the only people out were emergency personnel, clean up crews, the Red Cross and knuckleheads like me.
Now I say this before the sun comes up and this crew in Wrightsville wakes up.
Things may be a whole lot worse by the light of day.
But for now. In this moment. In this town.