Superstorm’s impact stirs Katrina memories

Hurricane Katrina didn’t prepare Kurt Hilt for the devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

“Every disaster is different,” said Hilt, 41, a Snohomish County Fire District 1 paramedic who helped with the New Orleans recovery in 2003.

Hilt was on the Washington-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team recently deployed to hard-hit Long Island to assist Oceanside’s South Nassau Communities Hospital deal with the throng of patients.

The storm was a double whammy for hospital workers, he said. “Many of them were also survivors of 9/11.”

He was impressed by their resiliency in the wake of Sandy.

“They had lost homes and had no power or didn’t know the extent of the damage. Some workers were living in their cars in the parking lot,” Hilt said.

“They were still working hard. It was people surviving, doing what they need to do. It was like my grandparents’ generation: ‘We are going to get ‘er done and make it work.’”

Hilt stepped out of his usual emergency treatment mode as a paramedic to do basic urgent care tasks.

“If I sutured one person, I sutured 100,” he said.

Unlike Katrina, the proliferation of cell phones added another dimension to the Sandy victims he met.

“This time, when people came into tents they brought the pictures as well as the stories. The stories were powerful enough, but with photos and a quick video you can identify with the people even more.”

Like Katrina, there was an eerie silence in the storm’s aftermath.

“At the Boardwalk, a usually bustling place, it was dead quiet. Like in urban New Orleans after the hurricane,” he said.

He praised the Oceanside hospital’s preparedness to deal with the disaster.

“They were as ready as you can be,” he said.

He brought back tips to share with others in dealing with a disaster.

And something else.

“I brought home a cold,” he said. “A common cold.”

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read