Lantana 211 crisis line takes over New Jersey phone calls, helps storm victims impacted by Sandy

The office there was evacuated and flooded

LANTANA, Fla. -- - Palm Beach crisis hotline "211" lent a helping hand to those impacted by the storm that ripped through New Jersey on Monday.

Operators at the Lantana office sat armed with headsets, clicking furiously on a screen that looked like something out of NASA mission control. The 211 operators helped victims hundreds of miles away.

Operator Louise said there is a fear of the unknown having to take over the crisis calls for New Jersey. The office there was evacuated and flooded. Those in trouble who need help were rerouted to the local Lantana office.

"I want to get in my car and I want to drive over there and help as many people as I can. But that's just me," said Louise.

Operators listened to all of the horror stories coming out of the storm-damaged areas. Some callers were without food and water. Others told operators they were stranded and trapped from downed trees. There were even calls from people who were searching for their missing family members.

"You sound concerned for her, what's your daughter's first name?" questioned 211 operator Jaime ton one caller.

In the matter of a few hours, the Lantana office had already helped more than 100 people impacted by Sandy. Call after call, 211 operators were reminded of storms of the past.

"We've missed the last couple of storms, so this could be us. This emergency could be us at anytime," said Louise.

Operators in Lantana said if and when a storm hits Florida again, they hope there is a state out there willing to return the favor.
   

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