Hurricane Sandy hit New York and especially its first responders hard. Hundreds of active members of the FDNY -- from rank-and-file firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and dispatchers -- suffered catastrophic damage to their homes.
Four unions representing active FDNY members have joined together to announce the creation of the New York City Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund Inc. (www.NYCFDDR.org), to help those hundreds of FDNY first responders who suffered catastrophic damage and now need to rebuild their lives and homes.
"Despite the worst of predictions, which were exceeded by the storm's ferocity, the men and women of the FDNY knew they had to leave their own homes and families in order to protect New York and its most vulnerable citizens," said Steve Cassidy, Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) president. "Firefighters in all five boroughs were on the front lines and fully exposed to constant danger for the duration of the hurricane."
During the two-day long hurricane of October 29 and 30 and its aftermath that changed the face of communities, FDNY first responders effectuated tens of thousands of responses to 911 calls 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. Responders had to work through horrific conditions, with dangerous winds, flying debris and floods that carried and overturned cars, boats and even homes, while littering the streets with downed trees and power lines. Despite the dangers, first responders never gave up.
Mr. Cassidy continued, "While New York City Firefighters are frequently exposed to human tragedies, to return home after your shift to find the home where you last saw your children, wiped away or with eight feet of water inside, is quite another thing. The men and women of the FDNY could not just stay home and prepare, and instead went to work protecting life and property for their fellow New Yorkers. 100% of the donations from this fund will help first responders rebuild their homes."
Israel Miranda, President of the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY Local 2507 said,
"During the storm and its aftermath, EMTs, and paramedics citywide responded to countless life-threatening situations, rendering medical assistance and saving many lives, all while knowing they would have no homes to return to."
Vincent A. Variale, President Uniformed EMS Officers Union, FDNY Local 3621 said, "EMS officers are proud of how our workforce continued to function and be there for New Yorkers in their time of greatest need. It's a credit to the members of the FDNY, many of whom have also been personally impacted."
Faye Smyth, President of the Uniformed Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association FDNY said, "During Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, our fire dispatchers handled tens of thousands of calls for help, which is 20 times the normal level. We are honored to have played such a critical role in keeping the lifeline of communication going during this state of emergency."
Application for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status pending.
Donations to the New York City Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund Inc. can be made:
* Online at www.NYCFDDR.org
* Checks can be addressed to: New York City Firefighters Disaster Relief Fund Inc.
C/O Uniformed Firefighters Association
204 East 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010
For more information visit: www.NYCFDDR.org or call 646-839-6535.