One year after the tragic explosion and fire at the Flower Branch Apartments, an emergency response planning work group of the Long Branch Partners Service Providers completed a basic plan that will mobilize and coordinate community resources to support emergency response and recovery from future emergencies. The work group was made up of 25 participants representing 13 Long Branch Network Service Provider organizations. Recent immigrants and socio-economically disadvantaged people are especially vulnerable to disasters of all kinds. This plan will make the socio-economically and culturally diverse Long Branch community more resilient when the next emergency strikes.
The plan establishes a permanent committee that will hire an emergency coordinator and recruit teams to perform specific functions, such as bringing qualified bi-lingual and culturally competent volunteers to translate in shelters, and facilitate personal supports and legal representation to those affected by emergencies. The plan was developed with technical support from the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Representatives from the County Department of Health and Human Services were also present throughout the development of the plan and offering input.
CHEER convened the planning process with funding from the Takoma Foundation, and with the in-kind support of CASA, which hosted nearly all of the planning meetings. CASA, IMPACT Silver Spring, the Spanish Community of Maryland (Communidad de Hispana, Inc), and Mary’s Center, a local health clinic, all provided substantial inputs into the plan.
The Long Branch Emergency Preparedness Committee launches with seven members and four participants representing agencies outside of Long Branch. The committee will lead an education and outreach effort to raise awareness of emergency preparation among Long Branch residents and to recruit teams to fulfill critical roles in response to emergencies. The Seven members include:
CASA: Hellen Dominguez
CHEER: Bruce Baker
IMPACT Silver Spring: Carlos Iglesias
Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland: Maria Herrera
Mary’s Center: Gaby Rivas
Centronia: Dayana Muniz
Long Branch Library: Febe Huezo