The following news release was issued by the Ridgewood Office of Emergency.
The Ridgewood Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Ridgewood Police Department will jointly host an information session and organizational meeting for residents interested in volunteer opportunities to assist OEM and the Police Department.
In light of the tremendous outpouring of support and offers of assistance from residents during Hurricane Sandy, OEM Coordinator Jeremy Kleiman and Police Chief John Ward began exploring the best way to organize, develop and train a pool of residents willing to help the village before, during and after emergencies.
The information session will gauge residents’ interest in volunteering as part of a community response group, and to identify residents with particular backgrounds or skills they are willing to offer in times of emergency to help their neighbors.
If there is enough interest, the joint initiative will likely be formalized into program modeled on the Community Emergency Response Team (“CERT”) concept, and will be customized to meet the needs of the community. For those volunteers with particular interest, additional components may include a Neighborhood Watch Program or other volunteer initiatives modeled after the Volunteers in Police Service (“VIPS”) program.
According to OEM Coordinator Kleiman, “Many residents came forward during Hurricane Sandy and asked how they can help. Some offered equipment, supplies and professional services, some offered to clear trees and brush, some offered to provide food and shelter to neighbors. Others didn’t know how they could help but offered their help nonetheless. Chief Ward and I wanted to harness that enthusiasm and have a formal plan to utilize that help in the future.”
Residents interested in learning more about how they can help the community are encouraged to attend the meeting on February 6th at 6:30 in the Pat Mancuso Senior Center located in the lower level of Village Hall. For more information or for those unable to attend, please call the Office of Emergency Management (201-670-5500 ext. 380) or send an email to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.