The award recognizes a team that has demonstrated a strong history of deploying for planned and unplanned events and excelled in response to emergencies over the past two years. The CB6 team will receive the award at a ceremony in Manhattan on June 2, at the graduation of the next CERT class.
“We have great members on our team,” Team Chief Heidi Chain said. “They’ve really come through every time that there’s been a need either locally or citywide, so it’s great that their efforts are being acknowledged.”
About 20 volunteers make up the team. Chain said that CB6 CERT has been active in numerous crises over the past couple of years, particularly because of all of the storms that have hit both the Forest Hills/Rego Park community and the city at large.
She mentioned the macroburst in Forest Hills in September 2010, Hurricane Irene in August 2011 and Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 as examples of the many emergencies to which her team has responded.
In the end, Chain said she was not sure exactly why her team was selected of the many CERTs throughout the city, but she believed that all volunteer responders should be rewarded.
“All volunteers who put in effort, I think, are great and should be acknowledged,” Chain said.
In addition to their emergency response work, which can entail assessing neighborhood damage, ensuring the safety of others during a crisis, and assisting with and managing donations after a disaster, among many other duties, the volunteers of CB6 CERT spend much of their time educating others about preparedness.
The team has given presentations on emergency preparedness at senior centers, schools and apartment buildings. They hand out literature on the subject at street fairs and host their own September preparedness fair.
“On behalf of our CERT team, we are very honored that the efforts of the members of our team are being recognized and we thank each of our team members for their efforts and time spent helping others,” Chain said.
Community Board 6 Chairman Joe Hennessy commended the team for their hard work and hoped to see more volunteers come out in the future.
“I would like that once they get the publicity, that more people would like to join,” Hennessy said. “The more people we have, the more work we can do for the city.”