NEW YORK, NY- January 25, 2012 — Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) and its Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM) program extend condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Richard J. Sheirer, Director of New York City’s Office of Emergency Management and industry pioneer. Sheirer was the official in charge of rescues on September 11, 2001 following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.  He died on Thursday, January 19, 2012 in New York at the age of 65.

“Richard Sheirer is one of the few pioneers in the emergency and disaster management field and he is well known and respected in our community and beyond. Having worked directly in the trenches during 9/11, I have great respect and esteem for his efforts in leading the Office of Emergency Management on this unimaginable day.  On behalf of my colleagues at MCNY, I would like to express our condolences to his family and salute his work in the emergency and disaster management field,” stated Ali Gheith, Director, Emergency and Disaster Management Program, Metropolitan College of New York.

In 2002, Sheirer was one of the first to be briefed on the creation of MCNY’s Emergency and Disaster Management graduate degree program. MCNY is the first school to offer a graduate level EDM program in New York State and only the twentieth of its kind nationally. MCNY began accepting students into the 16-month Master of Public Administration program in 2004. Course work was developed with the input of industry pioneers such as Sheirer and encompasses a highly specialized curriculum that covers planning, management, logistics, response, relief, recovery and the economics associated with managing emergency situations.

“Richard Sheirer was more than a pioneer in the emerging field of emergency management in New York City when he became the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. He was a practitioner who built upon his many years as a responder making the city more resilient to natural, man-made and systemic disasters. Rich helped to establish the bar on how future Commissioners would be measured,” states Dr. Mick Maurer, Adjunct Assistant Professor, MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management, Metropolitan College of New York.

Sheirer was a former deputy fire commissioner and deputy police commissioner. In February 2000, he was appointed to lead New York City’s Office of Emergency Management. This job typically entailed preparing the city for emergencies such as water-main breaks, train derailments and other crises.  However, on September 11, 2011, Sheirer found himself trust into action as he coordinated the enormous effort of rescue and clean-up, involving dozens of local, state and federal agencies.

Richard James Sheirer was born and raised in Brooklyn and graduated from St. Francis College. He began working for the New York Fire Department as a dispatcher in 1967 and rose to deputy commissioner under Commissioner Howard Safir. In 1996, when Safir became police commissioner, he named Sheirer his deputy commissioner for administration and chief of staff.

He is survived by his wife, the former Barbara Winston, and five sons: Matthew, Joseph, Christopher, Andrew and Paul.

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