Arizona Task Force One, APS utility crews head east to help after Sandy

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- As people on the East Coast scramble to pick up the pieces in Sandy's aftermath, help is on the way from Arizona.

Late this afternoon, APS received word that utility crews in the New York and New Jersey areas need help in bringing the Northeast back online.

"When the power goes out and the light switch doesn't work, somebody's got to go out and get it back on," said Toby Claude.

Claude is a member of APS's 30 man crew who will help a local power crew bounce back from the storm that put millions in the dark.

The company will send 15 vehicles with bucket and boom trucks, and all the equipment needed to get victims back on the grid.

They'll have plenty of company from other Valley residents heading that way, including the 80 members of Arizona Task Force One. All are police and firefighters who'll travel with trucks of supplies to the devastated areas.

As for caring for the victims, that's where Martha Iskyan comes in. She is the first member of Arizona's chapter of the American Red Cross to respond to the hurricane.

"['They need] somebody that they can tell their story to. Somebody that just holds their hand, and sometimes they just want to cry," Iskayan said.

Her job is just as important as power and safety - she'll be providing mental health support and more to those wading through Sandy's aftermath.

"They have to make decisions. Where are they going to go? Where are they going to stay after the shelters are not going to be open anymore? And so the Red Cross is going to help them through all those steps," she said.