Civic Association prepares for emergencies

The topic of emergency preparedness was the featured theme at last month’s meeting of the Ozone Park Civic Association (OPCA).
The evening began with Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Chairman, Pete Ticali thanking everyone in attendance for their concern and willingness to learn more about what they can do to help prevent and react during emergencies such as power losses, natural disasters and even terrorism-related events.
“In an emergency, we’re no longer responsible just for ourselves but for everyone around us,” said Ticali.
Ticali played a short video clip of the events of September 11 showing how New Yorkers pulled together to help their families and neighabors cope with the terrorist attacks.
After the video, Ticali spoke of establishing CERTs, which would assist with rescue operations. They would specifically help the elderly and people with special medical needs.
“The idea of CERT is to create resiliency…to respond intelligently to a crisis,” he said.
According to Ticali, CERT training is comprised of three meetings. The first meeting focuses on building a team; the second meeting addresses preparing for energy disruptions and having the basic essentials of three days of food, water and light. The final meeting reviews everything discussed in the first two sessions and adds how to prepare for natural disasters and terrorism.
“We also believe you should know what to do in the event you are separated from loved ones in an emergency…our goal is to make our block or neighborhood stronger and build contingency plans,” said Ticali.
CERT also trains people to perform basic triage, search and rescue operations and mental health counseling for those dealing with post-traumatic stress.
Ticali urges people who are interested in obtaining more information on joining or starting a CERT group in their neighborhood to e-mail him at [email protected].
Following Ticali’s presentation, the OPCA briefly reviewed the organization’s treasury report and fiscal expenses; they concluded the meeting after discussing the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt and the need for a volunteer Easter Bunny.