Children will be safer in emergencies, thanks to a global relief agency, a city agency, and a bit of star power.
Academy Award-nominated actress Julianne Moore this week joined with New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno and officials from Save the Children U.S. Programs to sign an agreement to incorporate Save the Children’s Safe Spaces program into New York City’s emergency sheltering plan.
The Safe Spaces program provides children with a place to play, socialize, and begin to recover—all while living in shelters—immediately following an emergency.
Under the initiative, Save the Children will provide 1,075 Safe Space Kits for use in emergency shelters in New York City.
In addition, more than 1,000 volunteers will be trained to lead activities for children in shelters. The kits will be stored in OEM’s shelter stockpile along with other supplies that can be quickly deployed to as many as 509 pre-identified shelter locations.
“As we were reminded last weekend by Tropical Storm Hanna, New York City is no stranger to strong coastal storms,” Bruno said at the announcement, held at the city’s Office of Emergency Management, 165 Cadman Plaza East.
“OEM manages one of the most sophisticated shelter systems in the country and thanks to Save the Children we are better prepared to keep our youngest New Yorkers comfortable if we ever have to put the plan into action,” he added.
In a major coastal storm, such as a category 3 or 4 hurricane, as many as 2.3 million people would need to evacuate from New York City’s coastal areas and up to 600,000 people would require temporary shelter.
OEM has developed a comprehensive plan that includes detailed procedures for evacuating and sheltering residents.
The city’s shelter system consists of 65 evacuation centers and up to 509 hurricane shelters, including eight special medical needs shelters. To supply and staff the shelter system, OEM maintains an emergency stockpile of essential supplies and a database of nearly 25,000 city employees who would be called upon to manage evacuation centers and emergency shelters.
Save the Children is a global leader in protecting children during disasters and assisting in their recovery.