Building Emergency Response Program

A volunteer safety effort
by and for the residents
of
360 W. 22nd St.
New York City

I founded and manage an emergency response program in my apartment building which is designed to help residents more "safety aware."   The program was announced in mid-December of 2003 and we've completed Phase 5 in May of 2004.

 

Phase 1
Doorman Supplies
During the blackout, the only safety item the doormen had  was a flashlight -  which had no batteries! A tenant donated a few lonely tea candles. 

So the first item on the BERP committee's agenda was to make sure the doormen had adequate supplies to keep them safe and comfortable in the event of an emergency. 

I went out and bought a huge supply of flashlights, batteries, candles, emergency rations, a first aid kit, latex gloves, bottled water, paper and markers for making signs, a mask, and goggles - all of which now are kept in a locked bin in the mailroom near the doorman's station. They are only for the doormen and other building staff's use.

Phase 2
Introducing the program to the residents
A teaser campaign began appearing in a display stand in the mailroom. It's purpose?  Merely to heighten anticipation through curiosity.

 

Phase 3
Floor Captains

I enlisted a few residents to be floor captains, and they, too, became part of the teaser campaign.

Everyone who has volunteered to work on the BERP committee has been provided with contact information for all of the other BERP volunteers.

Phase 4
BERP Information Campaign

 

Finally, we unveiled the creation and purpose of the BERP program by distributing a leaflet to all 217 apartments in the building.  We also included a copy of the "Ready New York Household Preparedness Guide" put out by the New York City Department of Emergency Management.
Phase 4
Emergency Contact Information
We distributed an emergency contact sheet, which would enable every resident in the building to provide names and phone numbers of anyone they'd like to have contacted in the event of an emergency.  The completed sheets are kept in a three ring binder in a locked cabinet in the mailroom near the doorman's station in the lobby.

We worked especially hard to invite our most vulnerable residents - senior citizens and those with an illness or disability - to fill out a form so that in case of an emergency, we'd know to come to their apartment and check on their safety.

Phase 5
"Go Bags"

Working with a company called Ready4, we offered residents an opportunity to buy a professionally-prepared, self-contained "go bag" at a reduced price - and with free shipping no less!  We've sold over $1,600 worth of "go bags" and other emergency supplies so far!