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Monday, 09 September 2013 17:16

You Can Be a Local Hero

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Preparing a community for an emergency or disaster can be a daunting task; there are so many people, each with unique needs, and so many aspects that need to be addressed.  If such a monumental task is left to just one group of people such as local officials, it’s sure to remain just that, monumental.  When the Whole Community comes together to provide input, complete tasks, and take responsibility though, it becomes a very manageable undertaking.  Pitching in to help your community prepare for the next disaster has a very large impact, the kind that can make you a local hero.

“Too often we rely upon local officials and first responders to prepare for and respond to a disaster;” said Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, “there are so many ways that everyone can come together and make their community more resilient.”

Citizen Corps brings together the power of individuals through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.  Citizen Corps has many councils throughout the country at the state and local level, and you can find your nearest council for more information or to sign up at ready.gov/citizen-corps/find-your-nearest-council.

Citizen Corps has many affiliates that offer communities resources for public education, outreach, and training; represent volunteers interested in helping to make their community safer; or offer volunteer service opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief activities, and community safety efforts. Visit ready.gov/citizen-corps-affiliate-programs for more information on Citizen Corps’ affiliates.

In addition to their affiliates, Citizen Corps also has partner programs which give citizens the opportunity get involved. Citizen Corps' federally sponsored partner programs help build capacity for first responders through the use of volunteers.  These programs can be very specific in what they support, such as the Fire Corps which supports fire departments, the Medical Reserve Corps which supports medical needs, and the Volunteers in Police Service which supports law enforcement; or they are more broad in their service, such as the Community Emergency Response Teams or the Corporation for National and Community Service. More information on Citizen Corps’ partners is available at ready.gov/citizen-corps-partner-programs.

There are many community and faith-based organizations that support communities before, during, and after a disaster.  Whatever your level of interest, your skill set, or your time, there is a program out there that you can join to support your community.  Reach out to organizations that you are already involved in and see what they’re doing or talk to your local officials for ideas.

However you choose to get involved with your community and prepare for the next disaster, know that your work makes a difference to everyone, but for you it can be the difference between being a resident and being a local hero.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema.   Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.