Soon afterÂ theÂ tragic crane collapse on the Upper East Side, my CERT team wasÂ deployed by the City’s Office of Emergency Management to help in the response.
A photo I took yesterday of local residents looking at the aftermath of a crane collapse that had killed two people earlier in the day.
WeÂ helped the Red Cross set upÂ and staff theÂ public school that was turned into an evacuation center for theÂ residents ofÂ the impacted buildings.
A closer view of the damage.
Like the crane collapse a few weeks ago — as well as the small plane crash that killed Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle — this accident displaced a number of apartment residentsÂ and many came to the evacuation center for information. This time, a common question asked wasÂ how they could get theirÂ cellphones charged.
Eventually, power chargers for the various mobile phone makes owned by residents were found. But it was a bit of an epiphany for me. I have been closely following and proselyzing Preparedness 2.0 for awhile and believe that the cellphone or PDA is the most importantÂ emergency tool you need to have and learn how to use. In fact, recently I recommended, on the suggestion of Mitchell Moss,Â that everyone have an extra cellphone battery.Â However, until yesterdayÂ I had not thought that a cellphone charger might be a good thing to have in your ‘go-bag’.
An alternative idea was suggested to me yesterday by one of my CERT team colleagues.Â She said she has purchased a windup crank radio which has a number of helpful features forÂ an emergency including the ability toÂ charge a cellphone.
Either way, yesterday’sÂ experience taught me another tip that I wanted to pass on. As many experts have told me, disasters often offerÂ ’teachableÂ moments’, andÂ citizens, likeÂ the authorities,Â need to take full advantage of them for the future.
CERT and Red Cross volunteers unloading food and supplies for evacuation center.