downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 29 | December 01 - 07, 2006

Red Cross offers Chinatown emergency training

The Red Cross is making sure Chinatown is ready for any disaster.

The group’s New York chapter is working with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on emergency preparedness programs. There will be demonstrations on C.P.R., first aid, how to provide for continuity of business and safety of employees, disaster training, community programs, and family preparedness. Materials and presentations are planned to be prepared in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. There might be future plans to have presentations in Fukianese.

“Offering instruction and information in two languages, as we already do with the Hispanic and Russian communities, helps convey and reinforce the message of being prepared, said Mike Virgintino, spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Greater New York.

Virgintino said the Red Cross has invited the Chinatown Community Emergency Response Team to help provide the presentations and materials and introduce an emergency preparedness presentation for business and community leaders.

“By providing disaster readiness, preparedness and safety training to Chinese communities in N.Y.C. with a focus on Chinatown’s residents/businesses, we will strengthen the community’s volunteer base and improve its ability to respond to disasters by increasing its training capacity,” said Virgintino.

Virgintino said the Chinatown Community Emergency Response Team would be a critical tie in presenting the materials. “The local community volunteer instructors will be identified and trained to assist us in delivering programs and training; their knowledge of Mandarin, Cantonese and English will ensure that first and second-generation Chinese are reached. Community leaders will be encouraged to participate to also reach out to their constituents, train volunteers and host programs,” he said.

Neither the Red Cross nor the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association had an estimate on how much the programs would cost.

Virgintino said that the Benevolent Association has worked closely with the Red Cross in the past for relief efforts for 9/11 and also for victims of the Tsunami. “We are working to restore and strengthen the affected communities and address the vital needs of the residents there, including their shelter, livelihoods, water and sanitation, health, psychosocial support, and disaster preparedness,” he said.

Virgintino stressed the importance of the partnership and its effect on the Lower Manhattan area. “To be prepared for a major emergency in New York City, the Red Cross needs the support of people and organizations such as the Chinese community to grow our volunteer ranks three-fold to 10,000,” he said. “Through trained volunteers, the Red Cross will be able to provide immediate humanitarian support when the Chinese communities in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, as well as all of New York City, need it most.”

The two groups will sign a formal agreement Dec. 1 at the Benevolent Association at 62 Mott St.

— Priya Idiculla

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