Hurricane Sandy
* If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross. * If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe. * If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345). * For those who have longer-term housing needs, FEMA offers several types of assistance, including services and grants to help people repair their homes and find replacement housing. Apply for assistance or search for information about housing rental resources. * Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks. * Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company. * Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering. * Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe. * Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering. * Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present. * Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris. * Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated. * Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. * Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury. * Use the telephone only for emergency calls. * NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Heroic Hatzolah Volunteer Hailed for Saving Girl’s Life
Five girls were injured, some critically, when a van jumped the curb Monday afternoon, crashing into them as they played on a driveway and neighborhood sidewalk, officials said. One of the victims, a 9-year-old, was found unresponsive after the crash. Jacob Goldmunzer, a volunteer paramedic from New Square, was hailed as a hero for the life-saving actions he took at the scene. The driver, Rachid Elasri, 42, of Spring Valley, was uninjured in the crash, officials said. He was being interviewed by Ramapo police investigators Monday evening. He had not been charged in connection with the crash and was said to have a clean driver’s record. The crash occurred at 3:43 p.m. on Bush Lane in the densely populated Ramapo village. The youngsters, said to be one 7-year-old and four 9-year-olds, were on the sidewalk when a 2002 Ford Econoline veered off the road and struck them, police said. They suffered injuries ranging from bruises and cuts to broken bones and a head injury. Three of the girls, the 7-year-old and two 9-year-olds, were the most seriously injured and were taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. One of the three was treated Monday and released. The 7-year-old, who suffered a compound fracture of the femur, was to remain in the hospital Monday night, as was one of the 9-year-olds, who suffered a head injury, officials said. Both girls suffered critical injuries, but were said to be in stable condition Monday evening. Two other victims were taken to Nyack Hospital, where they were released after treatment, officials said. Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower said during a news conference that the crash might have been the result of a mechanical malfunction. He said the van had been impounded and was to be inspected by state officials for potential safety and equipment violations. The van is owned by Five Star Home Medical Supply, a Monsey business at 419 Route 59. A woman answering the company’s phone shortly after the crash confirmed one of their vans had been involved and said Five Star’s owner was at the scene. Several messages left for comment later in the evening were not returned.

Initiative Announced To Protect EMTs And Paramedics From Assaults
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes is supporting legislation that would increase penalties for assaults against paramedics and EMTs. Under the proposed law, those types of assaults would be assigned to an Assistant DA in the Investigations Bureau, who will review and prosecute the cases. The legislation would also change the definition of second-degree assault from serious physical injury to just physical injury.Some EMTs, including one who says she suffered a neck sprain and emotional trauma when a patient punched her in the face, causing her to fall out of the ambulance. "I think they should make it felony assault because what happened to me was a felony assault, and when I see it happen to my co-workers, I feel they need justice for what happened to them," said Betty Higdon, an EMT. "I've had glass bottles thrown at me from building roofs, amongst other things," said Shaya Gutleizer, an EMT. "We've been threatened. I've been pushed around." According to the EMT union, there have been 51 assaults so far this year.