On September 27, representatives from the American Red Cross, FEMA and Verizon gathered with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop to stress the importance of disaster preparedness, emergency communications and volunteerism and to highlight the tools available to help people prepare for disasters.
The Jersey City Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security hosted the event. The facility’s parking area became an impressive showcase of disaster response. Jersey City’s Mass Care Response Unit and EMS Task Force Medical Ambulance Bus were on display with Verizon’s 51-foot Mobile Command Center and the Red Cross prototype for the new Next Generation Emergency Response Vehicle. See Photos
Regional CEO Mathieu Nelessen discussed ongoing Red Cross Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts and the Red Cross response in New Jersey, which included the work of more than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers during the months following last year’s storm. Nelessen encouraged people to volunteer with the Red Cross and get involved in their communities.
“National Preparedness Month is a great time to sign up and volunteer,” said Nelessen. “Register now and receive the training necessary to step forward immediately to assist your community during times of disaster.”
The importance of volunteerism was echoed by the Mayor.
“We saw firsthand the vital role that volunteers played in assisting neighbors in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” said Mayor Fulop. “Jersey City is fortunate to have a civic-oriented community with residents who stepped up and helped others, even though their own homes and families were impacted. Our CERT team is training even more volunteers in emergency preparedness so we will have trained volunteers in place for any future events.”
The event highlighted many of the technological tools, equipment and know-how that can be used to help people communicate, be more self-sufficient and better informed during disasters.
Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency or disaster occurs. Red Cross free mobile apps provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies including developing an emergency plan. Additional free tools are available at redcross.org/prepare.
Region President Paul Sullivan discussed how Verizon prepares for events that could affect its wireline and wireless networks and the services it makes available for emergency responders and communities, and provides useful tips for customers to follow as they prepare for emergencies or weather events.
“Preparation is key,” said Sullivan. “At Verizon we do our best to ensure that our customers stay connected during bad weather, whether is it setting up mobile phone banks in areas experiencing phone outages or having repair crews work round-the-clock to restore service for customers impacted by severe weather. We also encourage our customers to be proactive and make necessary communications preparations when major storms are approaching.”
Verizon also can deploy its Emergency Response Mobile Communications Service Fleet, which provides critical communications services in a disaster area. The company also has a disaster recovery fleet, which consists of a 51-foot Verizon Mobile Command Center, two 53-foot emergency communications calling centers and one 40-foot executive coach emergency communications center.
During the event, the Red Cross recognized Assemblywoman Annette Quijano for her dedication to helping the people of New Jersey prepare for disasters. Quijano serves as Chairwoman for the NJ Assembly Committee on Homeland Security and State Preparedness and takes an active role in arranging Red Cross preparedness presentations in the community.
“When it comes to helping people learn how they can be prepared for emergencies, Assemblywoman Quijano is a trailblazer,” said Nelessen. “The Assemblywoman was coordinating emergency preparedness events in the community prior to the storm, stood alongside the Red Cross and distributed relief items to affected families after the storm and continues to be a leading force in support of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.”