The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation today announced that it would provide $47,896 to the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to enhance community preparedness in the area of 130 Liberty Street. OEM will use the money from the LMDC to fund the expansion of the Battery Park City Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The expanded CERT will be renamed to reflect the inclusion of the World Trade Center area.
“Since acquiring the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street, safety has been the LMDC’s number one priority,” said Stefan Pryor, President of the LMDC. “We’re undertaking one of the most carefully planned deconstructions in history to protect residents and workers in the area. We are pleased to fund an expansion of this CERT, which will provide additional safety measures and training, as well as increased information about safety and emergency procedures to the community.”
The LMDC is currently undertaking the deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street, which was damaged on September 11, 2001. A Deconstruction Plan was approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and additional City and State regulatory agencies. The LMDC included an Emergency Action Plan which was developed in coordination with city agencies. The LMDC also meets regularly with New York City Fire Department (FDNY), New York Police Department (NYPD), and OEM officials to brief them on the project, and inspections of the site are also regularly undertaken.
“We are happy to be a part of the expansion of Battery Park City CERT, one of the premier CERTs in our city,” said Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno. “Through this expansion, the team will be able to expand the number of people it helps to prepare, and increase the amount of assistance it can give in time of emergency.”
In the event of an emergency, first responder agencies, including OEM, FDNY and NYPD, will take control of the scene and will be the primary decision makers regarding the actions needed to safely address the incident. The emergency response agencies have protocols in place for various emergency scenarios and the expanded CERT will play a key role in educating the community about those protocols.
Representatives of OEM, FDNY and NYPD will also present information about first response protocols at a Community Board 1 meeting on December 7, 2005.
The expanded CERT will work throughout the neighborhood to educate the community about the project and provide information on how to respond in the event of an emergency. Working with OEM, the CERT will be recruiting workers and residents in the area of 130 Liberty Street to become members and will provide in-depth training, including first aid and first responder assistance, and information about OEM’s Ready New York program. All CERT volunteers must undergo a 27 hour training course. The CERT will also be prepared to assist first responders in the event of an emergency by identifying residents, especially those with physical impairments or other special needs, assisting with evacuation when necessary, educating and informing the residents of developments, and providing traffic and crowd control.
The Battery Park City CERT was already the largest CERT in New York City and one of the most respected in the country. The newly expanded CERT will be headed by retired Brigadier General Sidney Baumgarten, Team Chief, and will serve in an advisory capacity to the LMDC.
“Our success in building the Battery Park City CERT team suggests that there is significant interest and commitment in the financial district area for us to expand our response capabilities into the surrounding areas outside of Battery Park City, and the funding provided by the LMDC will allow us to do that,” said Sidney Baumgarten, Team Chief of the new Battery Park City/Financial District CERT. “Our organizational structure is sufficiently sophisticated and will welcome additional team members who have taken the 27-hour FEMA training course.”
The deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street began in September with scaffolding and abatement. Scaffolding is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Physical floor by floor deconstruction is scheduled to begin early in 2006. The building is expected to be deconstructed in its entirety by Spring of 2007. In addition to the Emergency Action Plan, the LMDC has installed 12 air monitors in and around the site to measure the environmental impact at all stages of the project. There are also on-site safety managers from deconstruction firm Bovis Lend Lease and URS, which is the LMDC representative at the site. For more information on the 130 Liberty Street project and to view the Deconstruction and the Emergency Action Plans, log on to www.RenewNYC.com.
“Community residents have told us that we need to increase emergency training and provide more information to them, and funding the expansion of the CERT is a key way of doing that,” said Stefan Pryor. “OEM has advised us at various phases of our emergency preparation and we are grateful for their continued partnering with us in ensuring the safe deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street. This CERT already serves as a model for other communities and we are hopeful that many area residents will volunteer for the newly expanded CERT.”