First responders are the fire fighters/police/EMT's etc.
Second responders, in my mind (I think I just made this term up because I didn't know what else to call these people) are the utility companies, tree trimmers, clean-up crews, etc. . . . those that work hard restoring common luxuries that are lost during a major storm.
We had a pretty good storm yesterday (Friday) blow through my area. While it was no where near the capacity of Sandy or other hurricanes/tornadoes, it caused quite a bit of damage with downed electrical wires, trees, etc.
What is usually a 10 minute drive home took me close to 40 minutes because of stoplight outages and tree lying in the middle of a main thoroughfare. It was still raining pretty hard but there was a crew taking care of removing that tree and directing traffic.
When I finally got home, down the street from me, there was another tree that was pulled up by the roots and fell across electrical lines leaving live wires. And there was a crew taking care of it.
I heard big utility-type trucks going through the neighborhood all night long.
We were without power for 20+ hours. This morning DD#2 told me that she talked to a friend of hers that wasn't in our area and friend said that more than 100,000 people were with out power and it could be Sunday or Monday before everything was restored. An hour later, the power went on.
We still didn't have cable/internet/phone (horrors!) but that was restored 4 hours later.
I went out to run some errands and just drove around the neighborhood for a bit. I was so impressed with the amount of utility trucks/tree trimmers/cable companies that were out there . . . it just made me think.
To all the "second responders" out there . . . I just want to shout out a great big, huge THANK YOU! For being johnny-on-the-spot and working so much overtime in order to restore our first-world needs in such an efficient manner.
The work that you do hasn't gone unnoticed! Yes, I have sent a TY e-mail to customer service for both electric and cable companies. I wish there was more that I could do.