FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG THANKS AMERICAN RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS EMBARKING FOR GULF COAST REGION
Almost 700 Police Officers, Firefighters and OEM Personnel will be in the Gulf Region
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today thanked American Red Cross volunteers headed to the Gulf Coast and gave an update on the City’s efforts to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Retired New York City Firefighters John Seiler and Christopher Edwards will drive an American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) to the region and assist in the recovery effort. CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York Theresa Bischoff, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno, and Fire Department Deputy Chief Dan Donahue joined Mayor Bloomberg in detailing New York City’s continued efforts to help with disaster relief in the Gulf Coast.
“New Yorkers want to help victims of this disaster in any way we can,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We remember that our fellow Americans were there when we needed them and we want to be there for them. We are proud that so many of our Police Officers and Firefighters have volunteered to help those in need and we will continue to work with relief agencies and send whatever resources we have available.”
“We are very proud of Red Cross volunteers Chris Edwards and John Seiler and wish them well as they head down South to help provide shelter, food and comfort to the of victims of Hurricane Katrina,” said Theresa A. Bischoff, CEO of the American Red Cross in Greater New York. “Their generosity of spirit, and the outpouring of support we’ve received from thousands of New Yorkers willing to volunteer and to contribute to this effort, will enable us to help relieve suffering and rebuild lives.”
The ERV is the most recognizable Red Cross vehicle and is present at nearly all emergencies which the Red Cross responds to in New York City and around the country. The ERV will be staffed by two retired Firefighters, John Seiler of Brooklyn and Christopher Edwards of Sparrow Bush, New York. Both men are members of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), a joint program of the FDNY and the Red Cross. They have all received special training in disaster response, mass care and logistics. An initial team of 12 other DART members was deployed to the region last week. It is made-up of four active and eight retired New York City Firefighters and they are assisting in the distribution of aid in and around New Orleans. There are also 19 other volunteers from the American Red Cross in Greater New York in the Gulf Coast region and an additional 25 DART members will be leaving later this week.
108 NYPD Officers left this morning joining the 176 Police Officers already providing law enforcement in New Orleans. This morning 328 Firefighters departed from JFK International Airport on an Air National Guard transport plane; 28 of them are part of the FDNY’s Incident Management Team, joining 3 members of that team already operating in the area. A New York City Urban Search and Rescue team has been operating in the region since last week. This 33-member team includes Police Officers, Firefighters, and OEM personnel. By tonight, New York City will have almost 700 Police Officers, Firefighters and OEM personnel in the region.
Any New Yorker wishing to help can make a donation to relief organizations. For more information and a list of different relief agencies, New Yorkers can call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov. People can also send a contribution to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, City Hall, New York, NY 10007 and note on the check that the donation is for “Hurricane Relief.” Dollars will flow to organizations that are providing the food, water and shelter to those in need.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958