Being miles away from your family during a disaster can be difficult. But not knowing whether your loved ones are doing well or not can be troubling and keep you up at night.
That's what one woman experienced earlier this week.
"I hate feeling so helpless when those I love are in danger - real or potential," said Mary Calabro who lives in South Carolina but has family in town.
Calabro, whose sister lives in Yorktown, was unable to reach her due to the power outages after Sandy hit the area. Calabro called the Yorktown fire and police departments on Wednesday to ask them to check in on her sister who has multiple sclerosis.
"I called the fire department first," Calabro said. "The gentleman who answered the phone was really kind. I applaud him because I bet he was inundated with such calls. He referred me to the police, but first took the relevant information and told me he would also pass that information on. I was in tears, and he was incredibly patient."
When she called the police department, Calabro said the dispatcher was "equally kind and caring."
"She spoke calmly and took the information I gave her, promising to have an officer do a well being check," Calabro said.
Police took down her contact information and told the woman they would call her back.
"True to her word, she called and reported that an officer went to the house," Calabro said. "One of my nephews answered the door and told the officer that everyone was fine. I felt as though an elephant had removed his foot from my shoulders."
Calabro received a call from her sister later that evening and assured her the family was doing well.
"Knowing she and her family were okay was a relief, and hearing her voice was the blessing of the day," Calabro said.
Things are still difficult, of course.
"Ruined food, no heat and not knowing when the situation will improve is difficult for her and the entire community," Calabro said. "But for me, having the report of the police eased my mind incredibly."
Knowing her sister and her family were doing well, Calabro said she was able to sleep for the first time since the storm hit.
"The professionalism and compassion I encountered with both the fire and police departments exceeded every high expectation I had," the woman said.
Have you been helped by neighbors with chainsaws or generators? Give a shout-out to them here!