The Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center was honored as the Ready New York Senior Center of the Year, an award presented by the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Department for the Aging (DFTA).
In a presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 25, which coincided with the unofficial end of September’s National Preparedness Month, NYC OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno was joined by Department for the Aging Assistant Commissioner Linda Whitaker to present the award to the Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center and our CCBQ Program Manager Susan Shafer and CCBQ Project Director Debra Hoffer.
It is only the second-ever award of this nature presented by OEM and DFTA.
The Bayside Senior Center was honored for its ongoing commitment to preparing its seniors for emergencies. As a part of the emergency preparedness program, seniors receive regular preparedness presentations, and are reminded several times a year to pack a Go-bag with basic supplies, medication information and contact names and numbers. The senior center keeps an updated list of all seniors who may need extra assistance in times of emergency. The center regularly invites the Bayside Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to interact and advise senior center visitors.
September’s National Preparedness Month is a month-long, nationwide campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to promote emergency preparedness and encourage volunteerism.
“The enthusiasm and thoroughness with which Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center has approached preparing its seniors for emergencies has been truly inspiring,” said OEM Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno. “It is my hope that all the other senior centers in the City will follow Bayside’s example, and take an active lead in preparing older New Yorkers for a potential emergency. I want to thank the Department for the Aging for being an incredible partner in preparing its senior centers and their members for emergencies.”
“It is our responsibility to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure seniors are safe during an emergency and I want to commend people like Susan Shafer and her staff for preparing their seniors with important, potentially lifesaving instruction,” said NYC Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. “I also want to thank the Office of Emergency Management for visiting senior centers and making older New Yorkers aware of what they need to do to prepare for an emergency.”
“We are honored to receive this recognition and share it with our wonderful seniors,” remarked Susan Shafer. “A senior center is only as good as its seniors and their enthusiasm and willingness to learn is very inspiring. We welcome our partnership with OEM as they continue to share new information. Our seniors, who range in age from 60 to 101, are an eager audience. We go over the prepared emergency techniques we learn such as extra food and batteries, a Go-Bag, etc., and the guidelines taught by OEM. They enjoy learning about ways they can stay safe during emergencies, and they put those techniques in place at home.”
The Ready New York program outlines three important strategies to preparing for emergencies:
Get Ready: Make a Plan – Haveat least two phone numbers – one local and one out-of- state number – which you can call in an emergency and practice the plan with adults in your home.
Get Set: Prepare a Stay at Home Kit – During emergencies that require you to stay at home, it is important to have extra food and water for everyone in the house and a battery-operated radio for news updates.
Get Ready to Go: Pack a Go Bag – During emergencies that require you to leave your home, have a Go Bag with emergency supplies.
Staying in Touch with OEM
The Office of Emergency Management communicates directly with the public through a variety of tools, including Notify NYC. This is just one way the City of New York communicates urgent information to city residents. In addition to sending e-mails, text messages, and phone calls, the emergency notification office has the ability to activate NYC’s Emergency Alert System (EAS), which sends information immediately via television and radio. Residents can also visit Facebook, Twitter, and the agency’s website, nyc.gov/oem for more information. The public can sign up for Notify NYC by calling 311 or going to www.NYC.gov/notifynyc.
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