Sandy floods 311 with calls

If you’re facing Sandy woes, here are a few tips: The Philadelphia School District and the city of Philadelphia offices will be open Wednesday. If your trash should have been picked up on Monday or Tuesday, the city will get it a week late.

Philadelphia’s non-emergency system 311 has been flooded with calls about Superstorm Sandy.

On Monday, the call center received nearly 9,000 calls. On a typical Monday, it gets about 4,500 calls for problems such as potholes and broken streetlights.

The center was so busy that 311 director Rosetta Lue was even taking calls on her cell phone.

“I’m actually the director,” she told a resident on Tuesday. “Normally, you would call into 311. But it’s not a problem.”

Lue said most people have been calling about fallen trees, flooded basements, school closures and trash pick-up.

Usually, the call center is required to tell residents when their complaints should be addressed. But not now.

“All those rules are out the window when you have an emergency situation like this,” said Lue.

If you’re facing Sandy woes, here are a few tips: The Philadelphia School District, closed Tuesday, will be open for business Wednesday. Check 215-400-4636 or philasd.org for more information.

The city of Philadelphia will also be open Wednesday. If your trash should have been picked up on Monday or Tuesday, the city will get it a week late. 

Unfortunately, if your basement is flooded, Lue said the city can’t help. But you can try to get financial assistance from FEMA (1-800-621-3362).

If your power is out or you spot a downed wire, contact PECO (215-841-4141). If you see power lines or trees blocking the street, or live wires anywhere, call 911. For flooded streets or storm drains, contact the Philadelphia Water Department (215-685-6300).

For almost everything else, Lue said to contact 311 by phone, Twitter or app.

“We will take that heavy burden off of you to figure out who you should call,” she said.

Until further notice, the call center will be open 24/7.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the city hasn’t yet tallied the cost of overtime for 311 agents and other essential employees who worked during the storm.

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