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NYC Emergency Management honors Brooklyn volunteers who assisted in East Village building collapse response and recovery efforts

May 19, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers were recognized for their exemplary service in response to the East Village building collapse. From left: CERT volunteers William Vitale and Janet Perry of Bay Ridge, NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito, CERT volunteer Patricia Mendoza, NYC Emergency Management Assistant Commissioner of Community Outreach Herman Shaffer and CERT volunteer Eric Hébert of Coney Island. Photo courtesy of OEM
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Last week, NYC Emergency Management joined Public Advocate Letitia James to honor volunteers who assisted the East Village community following the explosion and building collapse near Second Avenue and 7th Street on March 26. Among those recognized were four Brooklyn residents from Bay Ridge, Coney Island and East Flatbush who volunteered for two weeks in the East Village, assisting with operations including perimeter security, language interpretation, resident escorts and data collection. The volunteers are part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program and are trained to assist their community following an emergency.

“These CERT volunteers sacrificed their time and efforts to help the East Village community recover from a tragic event, and we’re very grateful for their service,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “The volunteers used their training to show what being a New Yorker is all about: selflessly helping friends, family, neighbors, even strangers, when necessary.”

The New York City CERT program started in 2003 with 106 volunteers. Today, the city has more than 50 teams and more than 2,000 active volunteers representing all five boroughs. New York City CERT volunteers participate in a 10-week training program in disaster preparedness and basic emergency response skills taught by active and retired members of the Police and Fire Departments. After completing training, CERTs support their local communities by assisting city agencies that prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The next round of CERT training will begin in September. For more information about the CERT program, or if you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, call 311 or visit

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