The nation witnessed a true miracle just a couple of weeks ago with the emergency landing of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Although, and thank God no lives were lost, it makes me reflect on how prepared Bayonne is in the event of a disaster. How would we have responded had the emergency landing occurred here?
I have been trying to contact Mayor Smith since the beginning of the year regarding the city's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), but unfortunately, I've yet to receive a response. I did learn through other city employees that we do not have an active program. Now what the CERT program does is educate people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
We should realize that every community is prone to disaster. Our city's proximity to Newark Liberty Airport, Port Elizabeth, Liberty State Park, and NYC makes us vulnerable to a situation. Our neighboring communities recognize this and are taking proactive approaches in emergency management and public awareness. They have CERT programs of their own that train both city employees and civilians. By having a CERT program here, volunteers can offer support to local emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness and response.
I hope the mayor and City Council recognize the importance of community awareness and can hopefully establish a volunteer program so citizens like myself can assist our local heroes in keeping Bayonne safe and secure in the event of a disaster.