The American Red Cross and the Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) came together on November 8, 2017 to announce a new fire safety and emergency preparedness partnership to help save lives in Brooklyn. This ambitious initiative was spurred by a recent spate of fires in Boro Park which resulted in the tragic loss of lives, homes and property.
Less than one month ago, on October 16, a multiple-alarm fire left more than a dozen hurt, one still in critical condition, and a number of the occupants homeless. The Red Cross and the BPJCC were on the scene to offer emergency assistance. This fire followed closely on the heels of two other devastating blazes which have taken place in the Boro Park community in the past few months leading to homelessness and even death.
“The BPJCC is still dealing with the aftermath of the latest disastrous fire,” says Rabbi Avi Greenstein, BPJCC Executive Director. “Utilizing our resources, we have been helping the families get back on their feet as they struggle to recover from the aftermath of the fire. This new initiative was created because it is an idea whose time has come. The BPJCC has always been receptive to creating new partnerships that will benefit our community. In the advent of this fire, it was very clear that it was high time for Boro Park to partner with the American Red Cross so that we can prevent such tragedies from ever occurring again."
Initially the partnership will focus on fire safety. Via local tabling, canvassing events and outreach efforts online, the Red Cross and BPJCC will work closely from the offices of the BPJCC to register as many local families as possible to have free smoke alarms installed in their homes by volunteers as well as to provide fire safety education to the community.
“The message we are sharing is simple: smoke alarms save lives,” said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York. “We are incredibly proud to team up with the Boro Park JCC to bring this lifesaving program to more of our neighbors.”
In the aftermath of the tragic fires within the community, the BPJCC reached out to the American Red Cross which launched its Home Fire Campaign, a national initiative to reduce deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25 percent across the country. The new partnership between the organizations will include this campaign which seeks to increase the use of smoke alarms and to encourage all Americans to practice their fire escape plans and be aware of fire risks and hazards. Since 2014, Red Cross volunteers together with partner organizations and corporations have installed more than 65,000 smoke detectors across the Greater New York Region, which includes New York City, Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, and Greenwich, Conn.
"This important partnership with the American Red Cross will enhance the safety of Boro Park residents," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Given the increased number of fire-related incidents in our community, we must make sure that fire prevention mechanisms are readily available. With the support and expertise of the American Red Cross, Brooklyn families will now have access to essential emergency preparedness resources, minimizing the possibility of future accidents. I want to commend and thank the Boro Park JCC for spearheading this initiative and for its continued efforts to ensure the well-being of the Boro Park community.”
“Fire safety is an imperative across Brooklyn, and particularly in Borough Park, a community that knows the pain of deadly blazes all too well,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I thank the Boro Park Jewish Community Council and American Red Cross for partnering on this critical emergency preparedness initiative to help this be a safer place for us to raise healthy children and families.”
“There’s no such thing as too much knowledge or being too prepared when it comes to keeping families safe from a house fire. Education and helping to install a working smoke alarm in every home is an important step to prevent future tragedies,” said Senator Simcha Felder. “I’m pleased the BPJCC and American Red Cross are working together to make our neighborhood residents safer and more safety conscious.”
“Fire Safety preparedness is critical to keeping our neighborhoods safe. I applaud the Boro Park JCC and the American Red Cross for partnering on this life saving endeavor and I look forward to working with them to prevent the loss of life in Boro Park in the future,” said NYS Assembly member Robert Carroll.
“The victims of fires lose their homes and their possessions, if not their very lives. My office has been working alongside the BPJCC to help those affected by the October 16th blaze, and even with all the hard work of the BPJCC and the American Red Cross, I know those people are still suffering,” said NYC Council Member David Greenfield. “It may be annoying to get a working smoke detector installed, but I can say for certain that it’s easier than losing the roof over your own head.”
"Our city has seen time and again the value of being prepared for an emergency situation - particularly in the case of fire, which can rapidly lead to injury, loss of life and loss of property,” said NYC Council Member Mark Treyger. “A working smoke detector and proper fire safety awareness can literally mean the difference between life and death. I commend BPJCC and the American Red Cross for working to protect the safety of Boro Park residents and mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of fire and other emergency circumstances."
“The new community fire safety partnership between Boro Park Jewish Community Council and the American Red Cross will save lives,” said NYC Council Member Carlos Menchaca “The great majority of fire related deaths take place in locations where smoke detectors are either not functioning or missing altogether. Brooklyn’s history of fire tragedies demands action. This practical and innovative partnership will help our community install smoke detectors, promote emergency preparedness, and increase fire safety awareness.”
“We cannot afford any more tragedies--learning about fire safety and emergency preparedness is vital. I am delighted that the Boro Park JCC—already an invaluable resource for our community—is partnering with the American Red Cross in this effort to protect our neighbors,” said NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that nationally, the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half when there’s a working smoke alarm present. In New York City, the FDNY’s Bureau of Fire Investigations has determined that up to 70 percent of fire deaths in recent years have occurred in residences where there was no working smoke alarm – either with no alarm present, or missing or dead batteries in a device. On average, 7 people die from a home fire every day in the US; on average, 36 people suffer injuries from home fires every day in the US.
Moving forward, the partnership will expand to include more preparedness initiatives and volunteer recruitment efforts.
For more information about this program click here.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossNY.
About the BPJCC:
The Boro Park Jewish Community Council (BPJCC) meets urgent social services needs of individuals and families residing in Boro Park. To that end the BPJCC presently operates a wide array of social services and programs to assist clients in obtaining government benefits and entitlements with the dual goal of providing immediate relief and simultaneously directing them towards a path of self-sufficiency and independence. For more information, please visit bpjcc.org or visit us on Twitter at @bpjcc.