By Arnold Adler
NORWALK — The American Red Cross may use municipal facilities as shelters free of charge when needed in times of emergency under an agreement approved by the City Council March 7.
The vote was 4 to 0 with Councilwoman Jennifer Perez absent, a city clerk spokesperson said.
The agreement allows the Red Cross to temporarily establish disaster shelters, service centers, and/or staging areas at the Norwalk Arts & Sports Complex, Norwalk Senior Center and Norwalk Social Services Center, Public Safety Director Ozzie Ramos and Emergency Preparedness Manager Richard Newton told the City Council in a report. The Red Cross will not be charged a fee for the use of the facilities, but will reimburse any damage to the facility, reasonable costs for custodial and food service personnel and supplies, and reasonable out-of-pocket costs for utilities.
The council approved a memorandum of understanding that runs through March 2028 that formally outlines expected Red Cross contributions to the city for emergency preparedness and response efforts and integrates the organization into planning, training and real-world operations with special focus on mass care, the report said. It also establishes a joint program to provide community disaster education programs and volunteer training.
The agreement may be terminated by either party with 30 days of written notice.