My turn

Emergency Management Agency recommissions emergency vehicle

2014-01-24T00:00:00Z Emergency Management Agency recommissions emergency vehicleBy Steve Segura Times Columnist nwitimes.com
January 24, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Like many cities, the City of East Chicago often faces a crisis situation. Whether it is a gas leak, flooding, fire or natural disaster, there is always one team of volunteers there to give a helping hand to our fire and police departments and local commercial and industrial partners.

The East Chicago Emergency Management Agency is lead by Director Herbie Cruz and staffed by local volunteer citizens Cesar Perez, Arthur Cruz, Adrian Santos and Monica Gonzalez.

One thing desperately needed by this team was a good vehicle to deploy in an emergency situation, and that need lead to the search for a solution. The solution just so happened to be rusting away in the parking lot of the East Chicago Fire Department.

An old ambulance that was decommissioned years ago was just the right tool for the EMA, but funding was needed. Director Cruz asked Mayor Anthony Copeland for support and the green light to get started.

Cruz next asked local steelmaker ArcelorMittal and the Foundations of East Chicago for funding to make the project a happen.

The Foundations of East Chicago provided $15,000 toward the EMA vehicle, with the balance coming from ArcelorMittal.

Last year, ArcelorMittal provided $20,000 in grants to several departments in the City of East Chicago to support safety. “Health and safety are top priorities at ArcelorMittal and therefore, one of the key areas in which we focus corporate philanthropy,” said Kelly Nissan, Communications and Corporate Responsibility manager for ArcelorMittal. “We’re happy to support community efforts like these.”

Cruz was pleased to see the vehicle refurbished for the EMA. “I would like to thank Mayor Copeland for his support. As an emergency responder for over 28 years, he recognizes the importance of emergency preparedness.

"Having the resources enhances our ability as an Emergency Management Agency to assist the Police, Fire and EMS services during a disaster. As we have all experienced, it's not 'if' a disaster will occur, but 'when.'

I would also like to thank ArcelorMittal and the Foundations of East Chicago. These organizations stepped up and made it possible to put our Emergency Management Response Vehicle on the road and equip our vehicle with the tools needed to respond to any emergency situation.

"Most of all, I would like to thank the volunteers who have dedicated hundreds of hours to assist the residents of East Chicago in their time of need,” Cruz said.

Likewise, the mayor was happy with the outcome of the project.

“I am proud to see the City of East Chicago working with our corporate partners to restore this emergency vehicle," Copeland said. "We live in a city surrounded by industry. One of our biggest concerns is the safety and the well being of our residents as well as the employees who come and go every day.

"Being prepared is half the battle, and today’s preparedness determines tomorrow’s successes,” Copeland added.

Steve Segura is the East Chicago multimedia director. The opinions expressed are his own. He can be reached at ssegura@eastchicago.com.

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