Heroes of superstorm Sandy

Brendan James
David Mccue stands near the roof to his beach house that was completely demolished by Superstorm Sandy on November 25, 2012 in Ortley Beach, New Jersey.  New Jersey Gov. Christie estimated that Superstorm Sandy cost New Jersey $29.4 billion in damage and economic losses.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
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Sandy aftermath

Monday's deadly storm was the most destructive event to strike the northern East Coast in decades, but the resolve and heroism of both those under threat and the many emergency workers have been just as remarkable.

From firefighters in Manasquan, N.J., to the Federal Emergency Management Agency crew that saved NYU's Tisch Hospital in Manhattan, here are some of the best examples of grace under pressure:

The nurses and FEMA crew assigned to NYU's Tisch Hospital

Imagine speeding down a pitch-black flight of stairs, carrying a small child struggling to breathe—and in the middle of a raging storm. Without fail, a FEMA team deployed in New York City, greatly aided by local facilities' workers, faced such challenges efficiently and courageously as they evacuated many of the patients from NYU's Tisch Hospital in the midst of the storm.

More than 200 people, from infants to the elderly, were emptied from the hospital's buildings after the power failed. (Not only had the basement flooded, but the backup generators also fizzled.) The paramedics and rescue workers, some New Yorkers and others from as far away as Kentucky, carried out the job without a single casualty.

Emily Rahimi, New York Fire Department's one-woman response team

If it weren't for the efforts of Emily Rahimi, even those New Yorkers who hadn't lost power might have been in the dark. At the helm of the NYFD's official Twitter feed, she made contact with and provided information to those having difficulty reaching 911. Rahimi also passed along updates from the mayor's office and urged individuals, through Twitter, not to give up on calling the emergency number, assuring those waiting that help would come.

Govs. Martin O'Malley and Chris Christie

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley refused to be caught unawares by the storm and made sure that power company Pepco, which supplies Washington, D.C., Maryland and the surrounding areas, would provide additional emergency workers from out of state in anticipation of the storm's effects.

As O'Malley put it to the Daily Beast, "We've had our boot up the backside of Pepco to bring in mutual aid help." The thousands of workers are undoubtedly making a difference as they try to rectify the lingering power outages.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie tweeted that he has witnessed "the Jersey Shore of his youth" destroyed. With 2.4 million people out of power and some northern towns of his state flooded—and some areas submerged—Christie has been traveling statewide and issuing public statements to comfort and reinvigorate New Jerseyans.

Appearing on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning, the GOP governor angrily dismissed questions relating to how the storm will play in presidential politics. He declared, "If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics then you don't know me."

Firefighters across the Northeast

Firefighters fanned out across neighborhoods to put out fires and rescue families and individuals whose homes were being destroyed.

In the small village of Lindenhurst, N.Y., for instance, firefighters saved more than 100 families and individuals. In Manhattan, along 14th Street toward the East River, the NYFD also performed rescue missions in areas that were flooded beyond many expectations by the "perfect" elements of the storm's formation.

Meanwhile, in Breezy Point, Queens, firefighters, at first stymied by flooding, attempted to control an inferno that burned down about 100 buildings. But with the 4-foot-high water burying fire hydrants, every moment was met with frustration.

Mayors Cory Booker and Michael Bloomberg

"Just left," tweeted Newark Mayor Cory Booker as he and his team left Penn Station in New York City amid the madness. "We were able 2 convince & transport 32 homeless brothers & sisters 2 shelter RT @bakerb13 many homeless by penn station."

Booker himself set out across his community, driving around Newark and urging residents to be safe and remain inside. He even participated in the relocation of the city's homeless into shelters. He used Twitter to tell people to remain indoors and to update them on the storm's developments.

In a news conference on the Friday before the storm, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasn't sure if the storm would meet the worst expectations; but at the first sign of a credible threat to the city, he ordered a taxing but necessary evacuation of lower Manhattan that averted even greater disaster than what struck residents on Monday night.

Micromanaging the storm has been no easy task, and Bloomberg is earning praise for his handling of a colossal storm in the world's most sprawling city.