NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk and the Emergency Management Team, received the Community Resilience Award from the CT/RI Chapter of the American Red Cross at their annual Hero’s breakfast in Stamford.
“This award is earned and shared by the entire team and is a great honor for the city,” said Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Denis McCarthy in an emailed press release. “We couldn’t be prouder of all our city departments and partners involved – especially given this week’s weather.
“Every emergency that affects the city is different,” he continued. “Everyone plays critical roles during the different phases of the disaster cycle (prepare, respond, recovery and mitigate) to help the city, our residents and business community recover and become better prepared and more resilient for the next emergency. Many members of the team, such as fire, police and public works are visible to city residents, while other ‘unsung heroes’ perform critical tasks that many residents are never see such as ensuring the City receives FEMA reimbursements in large disasters and reaching out to social service partners to make sure their staff and clients are prepared.”
McCarthy ticked off a list of those involved in the efforts:
- This week, we’ve seen the hard work of the DPW staff and leadership in action, as they’ve worked countless hours to safely and quickly clear our roads and resume services.
- First responders in Fire, Police and EMS respond to emergencies and crisis situations 24/7, every day of the year and continue to meet regularly to plan for a coordinated response to school emergencies, active shooter scenarios and other events.
- Our partners in Redevelopment, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities continue to support residents affected by Sandy and will be ready to assist in the recovery efforts for the next declared disaster. The Chamber of Commerce and other private sector partners will help ensure that businesses can recover after large events.
- The American Red Cross has partnered with the City on safety and preparedness education programs and their team of volunteers provide disaster assistance to residents displaced by fires.
- From answering phone calls at customer service, to ensuring the website is updated, the staff at Customer service, the Mayor’s office and IT play a critical role in helping share timely and accurate information with residents who may scared, angry or upset.
“These are only a few examples of the work done by the members of the team who represent the Utility companies, School district, Libraries, Norwalk Hospital and many more,” he said.
McCarthy said that, in advance of the expected blizzard on Monday, more than 40 members of the emergency management team attended a briefing in the Emergency Operations Center at the new fire headquarters.
“This was a snapshot of how well everyone works together and how the team has grown through the years and have benefited from trainings, exercises and previous responses. While many other members weren’t able to attend the briefing, periodic situational and weather updates were shared throughout the storm. Although, the forecast changed as the storm progressed and our area wasn’t as impacted as other parts of the State or New England, City Departments and Partners were well prepared to respond, open shelters and warming/charging stations, and more.
“As the City’s Emergency Management Director, we thank the American Red Cross for this award and appreciate all the City’s employees and partners who make the Norwalk more prepared and resilient,” said McCarthy. “It was an honor to join the mayor, police chief and deputy chief and others in accepting the award this morning.”