At the 129th Supreme Convention in Denver, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson announced the creation of the, “Knights of Columbus Second Responders Program”, with the goal of building a local council network for disaster response. Under the direction of Brother Knight and New York City Fire Department Captain Alfredo Fuentes, the Supreme Council is developing a disaster response team in each jurisdiction. These teams, composed of current and former first responders and VOLUNTEERS, will provide assistance in the wake of natural and/or manmade catastrophes.
My brother knights, the definition of Volunteer, in the dictionary is: (A person who undertakes and performs or offers to perform a service or duty). Knights in every council are asked to consider what they can do in their community to prepare and respond to these types of emergencies. Types of emergencies, Floods from overflow dams, fires (House, Wildfires & Car Fires) and yes here in California, Earthquakes. If any place a Second Responders Team is needed, its here in California. There are some ways we can do this, like making our council hall and/or parishes hall or parking lot (with the Pastor permission) available to emergencies responders as command posts and/or distribution centers, this is where we as Knights can step-up to provide Food, Clothes, everyday living Supplies and/or Shelter. When a natural emergency happens, the parish parishioners and the community look at the parish and us for assistance. We as Knights must be ready and work to quickly place communities on the path to recovery. Right now Supreme is waiting for a jurisdiction to step-up and start a pilot program for the, “The Second Responders Program”. So that it can be initiative in other jurisdictions throughout the United States and then in the Countries the order is present in.
There is a role for all Knights as participants in this initiative. Being a second responder does not require previous emergency work. On the council level I would like to see 3 or more active members of the council take classes to get there First Aid/CPR Certification. And one or more members of each council CPR/AED Certified. This would be a benefit to the council for the members and the community. The council hall and/or parish would be protected under the California Good Samaritan Law (California Health and Safety Code Section 1799.102). Not only the certification but we as knights can put together comfort packs at all councils. Packs that have everyday living items, seal with our Knights of Columbus Seal, packs made for Adults (Man & Woman) and packs for Children (Boys & Girls). The packs are for distribution to family members in an emergency, or given the parishes in an emergency for distribution.
For this program to work I’m reaching out to all Knights of Columbus Members and their families. To help your parishes and community in an emergency, the California State Council encourages the members of your council to consider involvement.
THE EMERGENCY WILL COME AND WE AS KNIGHTS MUST BE READY TO ACT
Joseph L. Galbraith
Second Responders Program
California State Chairman