Volume 17 • Issue 35 • Jan. 21 - 27, 2005

Tribeca emergency training

The Office of Emergency Management kicked off its fourth Community Emergency Response Team training program on Jan. 18 at N.Y.U.’s Kimmel Center, attracting several residents from Tribeca, Soho and Hudson Sq. The free 11-week program trains neighborhood and community-based volunteers to prepare and respond to locally occurring disasters.

Emceed by John Greaney, security and preparedness specialist from the Office of Emergency Management, the meeting introduced residents from Manhattan and other boroughs to CERT leaders and coordinators. F.D.N.Y. firefighters Charles Hendry and Stephen Browne are the lead instructors for the Lower Manhattan group. Two Tribeca residents, former firefighter Peter Gleason and Jean Grillo are co-directors of the Tribeca/Soho/Hudson Sq. CERT.

Opening remarks included short speeches from Mike Clark, president of Citizens for New York City, Pam Palanque-North, a C.B. 12 member who became a CERT member last year, F.D.N.Y. Capt. Al Hagan and Sgt. Cliff Chin from N.Y.P.D. Auxiliary.

“The main goal of CERT is to make sure a neighborhood is ready, that you have your homework ready when a disaster hits,” Clark said.

The CERT program trains volunteers on topics such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team building, disaster medical operations and disaster mental health.

Clark noted that C.N.Y.C. offers a $500 grant to neighborhood teams after CERT certification to help pay for certain expenses such as additional training and preparedness supplies.

The bulk of the two and a half-hour meeting was spent reviewing Ready New York, a household preparedness guide published by O.E.M. Volunteers followed a presentation by O.E.M.’s Max Green, who emphasized the importance of detailed preparedness by CERT members. Green surveyed the crowd to gauge their level of readiness for a disaster, asking questions such as whether they had working flashlights by their beds, battery-operated radios and regular home fire drills.

Subsequent Tribeca/Soho/Hudson Sq. CERT training sessions will be held on Monday evenings at the Independence Plaza North community room at 310 Greenwich St.

Diane Lapson, president of the Independence Plaza tenant association, and Deborah Dolan, Independence Plaza building manager, worked together to encourage tenants to participate in the CERT program.

“There are a lot of people planning to come to the next meeting,” Lapson said. “Hopefully it’s just the beginning.”

Those interested in CERT training may e-mail TribecaSohoCERT@aol.com.

— Hemmy So

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