The volunteers and first responders

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The Long Beach Police Department, meanwhile, with help from the National Guard, state and county police, worked to maintain public safety, which included instituting a curfew as fears of looting increased. “The efforts of the Police Department to maintain public safety and social order will stand as one of the city’s biggest accomplishments following the storm,” Schnirman said. “Long Beach had all of the potential ingredients for a breakdown in social order. It’s also important to note that at that time we didn’t know how many fatalities the city was going to have.”

And while urban search-and-rescue teams were deployed, there were, incredibly, no fatalities. With Long Beach Medical Center out of commission, the city, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, launched a temporary hospital where more than 1,000 patients were treated for storm-related injuries and illnesses.

“[Firefighter] Sam Pinto was phenomenal throughout this entire process,” Tepper said. “He worked day and night, and was instrumental in setting up temporary medical facilities within the city.”

Volunteers and first responders: the Herald’s clear choice for 2012 People of the Year.

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