The DC Department of Public Works will continue to distribute 50 pound bags of sand to District residents today staring at 12 noon at JFK stadium with DC proof of residency The sand bags are in white sacks and are tied; however, like the sand in an hourglass it will leak. Prepare a place in the trunk to avoid sand spilling into the back seat of a car. Each local resident gets five bags (250 pounds of sand) over 250,000 pounds of sand were passed out in the first hours of distribution yesterday.
Watching the lines of vehicles flow from M Street, the Department of Public Works employees gave the city a good name on Friday as they stood in the street directing traffic toward the Neon sign that flashed where the heavy sand was being passed out to anxious DC residents. Not only did they give local residents the bags of sand—strong young men loaded the bags in the awaiting cars and trucks. William O. Howland Jr., the director of DPW, was on hand to support his team. “We will provide support to DC residents in the city and we encourage residents to go to our website at [email protected] for times and directions,” Howland said.
As residents sat in their vehicles a woman who did not work for the city passed out Five Hour Energy drinks. An alert MPD officer estimated that over 1000 vehicles passed through the checkpoint in the first five hours of the operation. Having survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989, your reporter shared with Mayor Vincent Gray and the city leaders that the number one cause of death and destruction in that storm was from flooding and water damage.
Mayor Gray declared a State of Emergency after talking with President Barack Obama and the leaders of nine major cities on the East Coast about the coming storm. On the day before Hurricane Hugo it was calm until all havoc broke loose. A DC resident who was waiting in her SUV for sand asked “I wonder how to best use five bags. Will it be enough to protect my house?” She was asked how many entrances she had. She said she had one entrance where flood water was most likely to enter. She was told to place her sandbags at that entrance.
When the storm is over there can be only one thing said about the DC mayor, he was front and center from the moment the threat was announced. In his assessment of the city and the public he serves Gray made one thing very clear, “If residents don’t know what to do call 311,” the mayor said. Using a logic that escaped previous leaders Gray acknowledged that even though the internet is an awesome invention there were still some residents who did not have access to all the sites and numbers. “I want to make certain that if residents have a problem they can get help,” the mayor said. He made it possible to help more people by expanding the city call service and encouraging residents to use it. If you don’t have a clue call 311. If you don’t know what to do call 311. If there is an emergency call 311. “Make sure you have plenty of batteries and flashlights. Avoid using candles. Most fires in an emergency are caused by people who can’t see overturning candles.” A city leader said.
Distribution begins today at 12 noon. Please check the DWP website for changes or updates.