Hurricane Sandy

Linnea Casey sorts through mail on Link Avenue in Arbutus on Monday, Oct. 29. Casey, who has been delivering mail in the area for three years, expects that she will be out delivering again tomorrow when Storm Sandy is supposed to be bringing the worst weather to the region. (Photo by Sarah Pastrana / October 29, 2012)

It didn't take long for Hurricane Sandy to make an impression on Catonsville resident Doug Simpkins, a captain with the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department.

He had just gotten home after stopping by the department on Southwestern Boulevard on Monday morning to make sure the station was stocked with plenty of food when he heard the department had cleared a residential fire a few blocks away.

A sump pump had burned up in a home on Shady Nook Court, he said, and with the worst of the storm still to come, there was not much he could do to comfort the resident.

He suggested a trip to Lowe's or Home Depot, but he knew there was little left on the shelves of the local huge home improvement stores.

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His department, however, was as prepared as it could be.

Members had committed to staff an engine crew, squad crew, two medical crews and two swift water rescue crews at the station for the next 48 hours, he said on Oct. 29.

"We just have to be prepared. Our people are trained and ready to roll," he said.

"I have a great group who have made that commitment," said Simpkins, on having the 20-25 members on hand to staff the station.

"We're standing by, waiting for the county or any other jurisdiction that needs us," he said.

A few miles away from the station, the Charlestown retirement community on Maiden Choice Lane had settled in for the storm.

Officials at the community began planning last week, informing residents of how to prepare for the storm, activating emergency resources and working with vendors to ensure sufficient supplies of food for residents and staff and fuel for back-up generators.

Preparation and communication are key, said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk on Monday afternoon.

"I think the good thing about this hurricane, if there is anything good about something like this, is that there was plenty of time to prepare for it," he said.

"The important thing is, everybody should look out for each other. Neighbors should keep an eye out for their neighbors," said Quirk, in his first term representing the Arbutus and Catonsville areas.

Two local nonprofits whose mission is to help the less fortunate in the area were closed Monday and Tuesday due to the hurricane.

John Monck, executive director of the Catonsville Emergency Food Ministries, said his organization would reopen at its Newburg Avenue location on Oct. 31.

In addition to not being able to hand out food and household necessities, closing earlier this week also meant not being able to accept donations scheduled to be dropped off Monday and Tuesday, he said.

Monck spent Monday moving supplies of frozen foods from upright units into chest-high freezers, to keep them cold should the widespread power outages predicted for the state take place.

"Last year, when the power was out for two, two and a half days, we did not lose many frozen items," he said. "We'll just hope for the best."

Southwest Emergency Services also closed Monday and Tuesday as the Arbutus nonprofit follows the schedule of Baltimore County Public Schools.