Fourth Peoples Medical Relief Reportback Grace Keller

New York City, Nov. 6, 2012 — One of the medics celebrated his birthday tonight on Coney Island between the exit of the superstorm and the entrance of the nor'easter.


Mo established the Peoples' Medical Response Dispatch system, which facilitates the flow of medical, chaplain, and street medic volunteers:

  1. From the Brooklyn/Queens Occupy Sandy service/distro hub in Sunset Park to medical satellite hubs in Coney Island and The Rockaways
  2. From medical satellite hubs to neighborhoods and homes with outstanding needs.

Mo stepped down from her organizational role today. Her replacements are Julia and Stephanie. Anything and everything that Mo was doing before is now in the hands of Julia and Stephanie, who previously worked together as Outward Bound instructors. You can reach them via the medic googlevoice and the medic email. They are not medics, they are volunteer coordinators.

Julia and Stephanie:

  • Answer phones and communicate with medical hub coordinators; send medical volunteers to hubs.
  • Maintain database of volunteer doctors, medics, and nurses on internal Occupy Sandy drive — they log every medical volunteer, and volunteers are expected to check in with PMR Dispatch at the beginning of each shift.
  • Check credentials of credentialed medical volunteers.

Peoples Medical Response gets its needs assessments for Coney Island from Lara at Community Board #13, 1201 Surf Ave @ 12th St, 3rd fl, Brooklyn (Coney Island). Lara organizes and tracks non-medical canvassers. The canvassers that Lara sends out post clear signs up to avoid duplication.

So far the PMR system for being informed of identified needs has worked like this:

  1. Lara makes a list of all medical needs identified by CB 13 canvassers.
  2. The coordinator of the Coney Island medical hub picks up the list and uses it to direct medical volunteers to people in need.

Since the list is picked up only in the mornings, people have to wait a day (at least) before a medic is sent to their homes. Dispatch is working on developing a way that needs can be communicated to the hub coordinators on an ongoing basis throughout the day. The system will work like this:

  1. CB 13 canvassers go out
  2. If they find someone with a need they call the coordinator of the Coney Island medical hub
  3. The coordinator sends out the appropriate medical responder

Medical hub coordinators at Coney Island today were Roger, Becca, Shon, Miriam, and Fidget. The doctor there was Jennifer Grod. The Rockaways hub coordinators were Laurie Wen and Nastaran, and the doctors were Sandy Turner and Paul.

Peoples' Medical Response sites are:

  • St. Jacobi Lutheran Church building, 5406 4th Ave, Brooklyn (Sunset Park)
  • St Camillus RC Church building, Beach 100 & Rockaway Blvd, Queens (Rockaway Park Seaside)
  • Coney Island Gospel Assembly building, 2828 Neptune Avenue, Brooklyn (Coney Island)

Contact Peoples Medical Response Dispatch

  • (646) 470-7256
  • moc.liamg|hctapsidcidemso#moc.liamg|hctapsidcidemso


The Coney Island Peoples' Medical Response coordinators got an early start, but ended up waiting on Russian interpreters until after noon. They took that time to continue setting up their site. Two doctors arrived. A few patients walked in.

One of the coordinators went to the CB 13 office to pick up the spreadsheet of medical needs from Lara. While waiting for interpreters, they went to Sheepshead Bay to investigate some scary stories they had heard. Power was on 1 or 2 blocks back from the beach, so they returned to the hub.

Three interpreters arrived. Teams formed, consisting of about half medical and half non-medical volunteers, then dispatched out to 4 or 5 buildings. Becca encouraged one patient to go to the hospital. Roger's team did not need to pass along any prescriptions to be refilled.

By dusk an unmanageable number of people had arrived, wanting to volunteer. They wrapped up around 6 PM. The pastor is very excited to be hosting this effort, and one of today's doctors cleared her patients for tomorrow and will be back.

Roger's biggest concern is that hub coordinators who are experienced in disaster response healthcare like himself and Becca tend to find a patient and stick with that person for a long time. That is good healthcare, but it takes the coordinators away from organizing and orienting incoming doctors and other volunteers, which breaks the volunteer intake system.


Mike wants to ask other medics: "What is y'alls med refill routine?" Because in the Rockaways it's very much a work in progress. Nastaran is an awesome organizer but she has minimal healthcare experience (which she's the first to admit).

A big St Jacobi-like space has come together in the Coney Island Gospel Assembly building at Beach 100. Driving in his team was stopped on Flatbush just before the bridge by a caravan of about 20 ambulances being shepherded by Homeland Security and FEMA contractors. Lots of construction debris piled in the streets replacing piles of ruined household goods (though still big piles of that). Lots more cops, contractors, and National Guard rushing around with lights flashing, including a Blackhawk helicopter flying low along the beach. As his team was leaving, a police van was driving around with loudspeakers encouraging people to leave before the storm and that buses were available to free shelter off the island.


Sarge was in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island. This is one of the hardest hit parts of the island she has seen. She did not see any support there today except for the Hallowed Sons Motorcycle Club, "this awesome biker gang that took over the neighborhood and is keeping it safe." She checked on elderly and sick residents. There's an outbreak of upper respiratory infections, and the temperature was just above freezing all day. She's especially concerned about the effect of the dropping temperatures on diabetic residents. For today and tomorrow it's about keeping people warm!

For photos of the Hallowed Sons MC relief effort, see this article:

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