Press Release




May 13, 2015 — New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito hosted a recognition ceremony at Middle Collegiate Church to honor 83 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers who assisted the City following the East Village explosion and building collapse on March 26, 2015. The volunteers represented dozens of communities in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Responding to requests to support the East Village community, the CERT volunteers spent more than two weeks assisting with operations at the scene of the building collapse and at the Reception Center, including perimeter security, language interpretation, resident escorts, and data collection.

“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 Commissioner 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.”

“In a time of emergency, our City truly comes together and is resilient. The 83 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers exemplify what courage and leadership truly looks like,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. “We need more New Yorkers like the ones who volunteered their time and efforts to help the East Village recover from this unfortunate and devastating event. I am proud to join in the honoring of these 83 CERT volunteers.”

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 2015. For more information about the CERT program, or if you are interested in becoming a CERT volunteer, call 311 or visit

Nancy Silvestri/Omar Bourne (NYC Emergency Management) (718)422-4888