The Fire Lines # 2 - 2012
In the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy, there was universal agreement among weather forecasters that this massive storm rumbling up the Atlantic coast had the potential to be a major disaster. In truth, no one could have predicted the catastrophic damage that Sandy delivered to New York City and the metropolitan area. The 911 system could not handle the volume of calls from New Yorkers in need of emergency help. When the sun came up on Tuesday it was startling to see that the entire New York Metropolitan area was devastated.
During the two-day hurricane of October 29th and 30th, and its aftereffect that changed the face of communities, firefighters effectuated tens of thousands of responses ranging from major fires, water rescues of trapped civilians, ruptured gas lines, transformer explosions, and countless urgent medical calls. FDNY fire-related call volumes soared to 25,000 across the city. Our members had to work through horrific conditions.
Although New York City Firefighters are frequently exposed to human tragedies, to find that your home, where you last saw their children, has been wiped away or has eight feet of water inside, is quite another thing. FDNY members could not just stay home and prepare; instead, they went to work to protect the lives and property for their fellow New Yorkers.
In the aftermath of the hurricane, four unions representing active FDNY members [Uniformed Firefighters Association, Local 94; Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors, Local 2507; Uniformed EMS Officers Union, Local 3621; and Uniformed Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association] joined together to announce the creation of the New York City Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund Inc. This fund will help their active members who suffered catastrophic damage and now need to rebuild their lives and homes. Application for 501(c) (3) tax exempt status is pending. One hundred percent of the donations from this fund will help first responders rebuild their homes. All administrative costs will be shared per capita by the general funds of each union. For more information visit: www.NYCFDDR.org or call 646-839-6535. In the tradition of the Christmas season, the UFA was proud to host the annual Widows' and Children's Christmas Party at the Toys "R" Us flagship store in Times Square on Sunday, November 18th. We wish to thank CEO Jerry Storch and his staff at Toys "R" Us and Yankee infielder Robinson Cano for making this year's party a success.
I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Please keep all victims of Hurricane Sandy in your thoughts and prayers
As always, stay safe!
Stephen J. Cassidy,