This Saturday, June 28, marks a full year since severe flooding struck Montgomery County and caused serious damage in the village of Fort Plain. Staff and volunteers from the American Red Cross of Northeastern New York were among the first to respond to this emergency, providing food, shelter, basic care items, and clean-up supplies to those in need. Today their work continues, focused on building a more resilient Montgomery County that is prepared to face the disasters of the future.
"As chairman of the Fulton Montgomery Long-Term Recovery Committee, I'm very pleased with the cooperative efforts of local leaders and non-profits to help the residents of Fort Plain," said County Executive Matt Ossenfort. "We are moving forward towards continued recovery and increased resiliency in the years ahead."
"I am proud of the citizens of Montgomery County," added Montgomery County's Emergency Manager, Jeff Smith. "The progress that has been made working collaboratively to improve our preparedness and resiliency is remarkable."
Since last Spring, the Red Cross has been actively involved in recovery and preparedness efforts throughout Montgomery County. Angelika Klapputh, Disaster Program Manager for the Red Cross, spends part of her time working directly with the county's Emergency Management Office and sees the gaining momentum of their growing preparedness plan as the result of exceptional collaboration between community partners and leaders like Ossenfort, Smith, Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.
Last February's Community Resiliency Forum, hosted by Tkaczyk and Santabarbara and organized by the Red Cross, was a successful first step in convening key social service providers in important collaborative discussions. Numerous community agencies have since come together in an effort to address specific gaps in the county's disaster preparedness and response capabilities. The five area school districts, for example, are now supporting the Red Cross and the Emergency Management Office in their shelter planning activities.
"Over the last year, our partners in Montgomery County have shown a serious commitment to building their disaster response capacity," says Klapputh. "We are working together to implement shelter plans throughout the county and to assemble teams of volunteers who can provide immediate assistance to their neighbors in times of emergency."
To continue this work, Klapputh highlights the need for more locally trained and active disaster volunteers. "The Red Cross needs more local citizens who can respond to local needs when disasters strike. Regardless of age, experience, or ability, almost anyone can play a role in building a more resilient community by serving as a Red Cross volunteer."
Click here to find volunteer opportunities in your local community, and start your own Red Cross story today.