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Citizen Corps Awards

2014

FEMA Calls for 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Applications

Submission Deadline: May 30, 2014

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce that the application period for the 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards is now open.

These awards highlight innovative local practices and achievements by recognizing individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions toward making their communities safer, stronger, better prepared, and more resilient.

To be considered for this year’s awards, all applications must be sent to citizencorps@fema.dhs.gov by May 30, 2014 at 11:59 P.M. E.T. and must feature program activities taking place between January 1, 2013 and May 30, 2014. FEMA will review all entries and select the finalists.  A distinguished panel of representatives from the emergency management community will select winners in each of the following categories:

  • Outstanding State Citizen Corps Initiatives
  • Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Initiatives
  • Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives
  • Community Preparedness Heroes
  • Outstanding Youth Preparedness Initiatives
  • Awareness to Action
  • Survivor Empowerment and Integration
  • Technological Innovation
  • Preparing the Whole Community

Winners will be announced in Fall 2014 and will be FEMA’s honored guests at a community preparedness roundtable event. The winner of the Preparing the Whole Community category will receive the John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award.

Emergency management is most effective when the whole community is engaged and involved. Faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, the private sector, tribal organizations, youth, older adults, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, and other individual citizens can all make a difference in their communities before, during, and after disasters. Acknowledge the work you or someone you know has done to build a more resilient nation and apply TODAY!

How to Apply

Please review the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Application and Guidance Form below before completing and submitting your application and supporting materials. This file will help facilitate consistency in the application and selection process and provide a few points to keep in mind when preparing your submission.

If you have questions regarding the awards and application process, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet below. If you cannot find the answer to your question in the FAQ, please submit any inquiries to citizencorps@fema.dhs.gov.

2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Materials

Awards Application Deadline

Submit applications to citizencorps@fema.dhs.govby May 30, 2014 at 11:59 P.M. E.T. Please make sure to include “2014 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Award Application” in the subject line.

We look forward to hearing about the excellent work being done throughout the country!

Sincerely,

The FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division

2013

2013 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Announcement

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.  The awards recognize programs and individuals who have taken action to prepare their communities for disasters and helped to make their communities more resilient.

This year, applicants were asked to describe accomplishments that took place between January 1, 2012 and June 5, 2013.  Reflecting the full spectrum of the community, FEMA received nearly 200 applications from faith-based, non-profit, private sector, community-based organizations, and individuals from 39 states and the District of Columbia.

Recipients demonstrated remarkable innovation and creativity in preparing and supporting their communities. The winners of FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Awards will attend a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. during National Preparedness Month in September.

View the 2013 Awards Press Release

FEMA congratulates the following awardees and honorable mentions: 

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

Illinois Citizen Corps (IL)

As the national Citizen Corps Program has been evolving to emphasize community resilience and individual and community preparedness, Illinois has been proactively following this trend.  Illinois engaged residents and organizations in a year-long, statewide, grassroots initiative called the Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020.  The Vision 2020 process resulted in eight key priorities that drive the state’s strategy for homeland security. Two of the priorities stress the importance of “whole community” preparedness and the creation of a comprehensive and integrated volunteer recruitment, training and utilization. Eight local Illinois Citizen Corps Councils were selected to share grants to support this initiative and improve community preparedness throughout the state. One of the eight grants will enable the City of Springfield to implement a text alert service to provide residents with critical information about how to more effectively mitigate the effects of, prepare for, respond to and recover from a disaster or other emergency.

Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

Heart of Texas Citizen Corps (TX)

On the evening of April 17, 2013 a fertilizer plant exploded in West Texas killing 14 people, including 12 first responders, injuring hundreds, and destroying houses and buildings.  The enormity of this disaster triggered a massive response from first responders and volunteers.  The volunteer response included no fewer than ten Citizen Corps teams organized under the Heart of Texas Citizen Corps Council, which is organized and overseen by the Homeland Security Division of the Heart of Texas Council of Governments.  The Waco and Marlin/Falls CERT teams also assisted with incident management activities, including checking responders, volunteers and other incident personnel in and out at the scene and performing data entry into WebEOC. In total, the local CERT teams contributed more than 120 hours of volunteer service and made a significant impact in assisting people in need.

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness

Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University (TX)

The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) at Texas State University has developed a statewide approach to emphasize youth preparedness and educate the whole community in disaster preparedness.  Through the delivery of a statewide youth summer camp that includes emergency response training, community-specific action planning, and leadership development, the TxSSC prepares teams of youth to lead preparedness efforts in their local communities and schools.  In June 2012, the TxSSC funded 30 participants, made up of three youth groups and their adult sponsors from across Texas.  The participants attended the 2012 Youth Preparedness Camp for 5 days at Schriener University in Kerrville, Texas.

Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives

City of Austin CERT (TX)

In 2012, the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management conducted a community-wide survey to measure how well the city is prepared for major disasters and emergencies.  The overall survey findings indicated that Austin residents were not well prepared for natural or man-made disasters. Based on the results, the City of Austin Community Emergency Response Team (Austin CERT) greatly enhanced its program by developing six new partnerships to help Austin prepare for and respond to local incidents and fill gaps that left the community vulnerable in times of emergency.  For example, as part of Austin CERT’s partnership with the Austin Water Utility, CERT volunteers have consistently performed nearly 1000 site visits per year, finding and reporting cut fences, water leaks, transient homes, potential copper thefts and many other security-related issues for the Austin Water Utility.  Volunteers call in potential threats and suspicious persons, photograph questionable findings, and e-mail the appropriate information to Water Utility Service Center staff for assessment and immediate repair, when necessary.  Over 160 work orders for facility repairs have been submitted based on reports from these volunteers.

In the past 16 months, members of Austin CERT have worked tirelessly to help maximize their efforts to make their program exemplary.  Austin CERT’s other new partnerships include the Austin Fire Department, Austin Teen CERT, Disaster Ready Austin, the Austin CERT Podcast, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management State Operations Center.

Awareness to Action

What to Do to Make it Through Campaign (WA)

Due to the risk of natural disasters and catastrophic events in the Puget Sound region, the City of Seattle, and the King and Snohomish County Offices of Emergency Management joined with the Puget Sound Offices of Emergency Management.  They participated in the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPG) to launch a multi-media campaign in Spring 2012.  The campaign, What to Do to Make it Through, aimed to raise awareness and encourage individuals to prepare for catastrophes by making a plan, building a kit with supplies for 7-10 days, and helping each other.  To establish regional awareness and a sense of urgency to prepare, the division partnered with Fisher Communications, a locally owned media outlet with the unique ability to offer TV, radio and online programs to implement a multi-faceted media campaign.  Mud Bay (pet preparedness) and Safeway (family/home preparedness) were secured as sponsors and contributed funds to a collective advertising purchase, including television, radio, and online.  This framework provided sponsors an opportunity to leverage limited advertising funds into a larger, more impactful presence to promote community preparedness.

Community Preparedness Heroes

Volunteers of the Hoboken CERT Team (NJ)

After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in October 2012, the Hoboken CERT team was deployed to assist Hoboken’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in recovery efforts. The program distributed Hurricane Sandy information flyers throughout the Hoboken Housing Authority and locked down its HAM radio frequency to all communications with the exception of emergency traffic.  Additionally, the CERT program set up and manned the Emergency Operation Center with the Hoboken OEM and began the process of soliciting volunteers and staffing shelters.  On October 30, 2012, the CERT program started with recovery operations by identifying leaders and organizing hundreds of volunteers.  Hoboken CERT was able to utilize its amateur radio repeater as the primary means of communication for shelter operations, shuttle bus communications, and volunteer communications.

Third Annual Recipient of the John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award

City of Los Angeles Fire Department – South Los Angeles Teen CERT Collaborative (CA)

The John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award is named for the late creator of the groundbreaking blog, InCase of Emergency, Read Blog: A Citizen’s Eye View Of Public Preparedness, and awarded to the winner of the Preparing the Whole Community category. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate once stated that John “set the standard for what it means to be part of our nation’s emergency management team.”

John noted in his blog that youth are the segment of any community most likely to bring about change in attitudes toward emergency preparedness and resiliency.  This year, the Third Annual John D. Solomon Whole Community Preparedness Award is presented to the City of Los Angeles Fire Department’s South Los Angeles Teen CERT Collaborative, which provided training in basic disaster preparedness and response skills to local teens.

The South Los Angeles Teen CERT Collaborative was developed by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department in partnership with a wide representation of local organizations and businesses as a true whole community effort.  Word of mouth from trusted community leaders helped recruit youth into the program and local police vans provided transportation.  Local businesses provided meals and snacks for the youth, and other local partners ensured that at least five adults were present at every class to show support for the students' efforts.  The level of commitment and support demonstrated by local businesses, law enforcement, community leaders, and the youths themselves is reflective of the whole community engagement and collaboration that John encouraged and emphasized through his work.  A total of 27 teens were trained in the CERT program of which 14 were trained in CPR and first aid. FEMA Youth Preparedness Council member, Tiffany Espensen, also participated in the graduation ceremony.

Honorable Mentions

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

  • Delaware Citizen Corps (DE)
  • Michigan Citizen Corps (MI)
  • Arizona Citizen Corps (AZ)
  • Virginia Citizen Corps (VA)

Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

  • Hands on Central Ohio Citizen Corps (OH)
  • Palm Beach County Citizen Corps (FL)
  • Clermont County Citizen Corps (OH)
  • SAFER Santa Rosa Citizen Corps (FL)

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness

  • AT&T Wisconsin (WI)
  • American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter (CA)
  • Ready New York for Kids (NY)
  • American Red Cross Mile High Region (CO)

Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives

  • Montgomery County CERT (MD)
  • New York City CERT (NY)
  • Harris County CERT (TX)
  • Hoboken CERT (NJ)
  • Arlington County CERT (VA)

Awareness to Action

  • Texas School Safety Center (TX)
  • City of Providence Emergency Management Agency (RI)
  • American Red Cross of St. Louis (MO)
  • www.Do1thing.us (MI)

Community Preparedness Heroes

  • Heidi Witucki (MI)
  • Chuck Guaraglia (CA)
  • Stephanie Parker (TX)
  • Karlynn Workman (OR)

Preparing the Whole Community

  • American Red Cross and Hope Worldwide (DC)
  • Aware and Prepare Initiative (CA)
  • City of Providence Emergency Management Agency (RI)
  • Sage Services (CA)

 

2012

2012 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Announcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the multi-state recipients of the 2012 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. These Awards recognize the innovative practices and achievements of individuals, Citizen Corps Councils, and non-profit, faith-based, and private sector organizations working throughout the nation to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to manage any disaster or emergency event.

FEMA received applications from 38 States, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, representing program activities taking place during the period of January 1, 2011 and June 1, 2012.  Each application reflected a wide array of activities, partnerships, and achievements, and demonstrated how much can be accomplished when the potential of Whole Community is harnessed. Other winners participated in emergency community planning and established creative methods to address the needs of their communities.

All winners will be invited, as FEMA’s honored guests, to a community roundtable event in Washington, D.C.

FEMA congratulates the following awardees:

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

Texas Citizen Corps (TX)

A leader in all aspects of community and citizen preparedness, Texas has 36 registered County Citizen Corps Councils, 15 Local Citizen Corps Councils and 104 registered Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).  The Texas State Citizen Corps program also fostered partnerships with numerous state agencies, including the State Administrative Agency and the Department of State Health Services, as well as non-governmental organizations.  Strong partnerships and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) proved especially successful when trained CERT volunteers were integrated in the response for the Bastrop Complex Fire and North Texas tornadoes. Texas also has one of the most active and dynamic CERT programs in the country, and provides training to tribal governments, Spanish-speaking communities, and individuals with access and functional needs.

Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

New York City Citizen Corps Council (NY)

The New York City Citizen Corps Council (NYC CCC) has successfully established strong working relationships with nonprofit and community organizations and furthered its role in preparing the whole community for any disaster or emergency event.   For example, through its work with the Immigrant Task Force, NYC CCC has successfully brought together nearly 130 leaders from nonprofit and other organizations to focus on ways to reach the immigrant population with preparedness and protective action messaging.  Additionally, the Council helped to facilitate the collaboration of community leaders from New York’s diverse communities to discuss the role volunteers can play in enhancing cross-cultural communication before, during, and after a disaster.

Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives

CERT Program and Volunteers, City of Newport Beach (CA)

The City of Newport Beach has 156 neighborhoods and more than 1000 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers, giving Newport Beach the highest per-capita CERT volunteer-to-resident ratio in all of California. These volunteers develop disaster preparedness and response programs for their communities, and provide training to their neighbors to educate Newport Beach’s more than 88,000 residents about natural and manmade hazards. 

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness

Chinatown Community Development Center (CA)

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country, and Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels are the dominant form of housing for more than 500 low-income, immigrant families.  The occupants of these SROs, many of whom are seniors who speak only Chinese, are among the hardest to reach and most at-risk populations in the city. In order to help these residents to be better prepared for disasters, Chinatown’s Community Development Center (CDC) developed a Youth for Single-Room Occupancy (YSRO) Program. In this program, youth are trained and certified in emergency response and disaster preparedness, lead fire prevention and earthquake preparedness outreach efforts, and provide training to senior SRO residents.  Participants in the YSRO program have also published a safety handbook, developed a slide presentation, and created bilingual educational materials currently used in outreach to seniors and at-risk populations.

Preparing the Whole Community

American Red Cross Gateway to the Golden State (CA)

The American Red Cross Gateway to the Golden State Region Chapter mobilizes volunteers and leverages community partnerships to increase the resilience of low-income, immigrant, and underserved neighborhoods. Through six pilot Ready Neighborhood programs in local communities they have trained more than 16,000 individuals in lifesaving skills, including disaster preparedness, CPR, and basic first aid.  In addition, they have developed a cadre of over 200 bilingual volunteers who work to prepare individuals whose first language is Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Tongan.  They have also established a variety of networks through partnerships with more than 200 government agencies, community organizations, schools, and businesses, all working together to increase the preparedness and resilience of their communities.

Promising Partnerships

Partners in Preparedness (NY)

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) launched its Partners in Preparedness program in Times Square during the 2011 National Preparedness Month kick-off event. This new initiative was designed to help organizations better prepare their employees, volunteers, services, and facilities for a wide variety of disasters.  The program frequently hosts webinars for its partners to share information and discuss the City’s response plans. The New York City OEM recognizes that informed partners are better able to make decisions in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. Currently 243 organizations, representing more than 500,000 employees and volunteers, are engaged in the Partners for Preparedness program. 

Awareness to Action

American Red Cross of the Poconos (PA)

Following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, a community-based evaluation revealed the need to better prepare youth for disasters and emergency events.  This information, coupled with the realization that many children are home alone for long periods of time due to parents and guardians working, encouraged the American Red Cross of the Poconos to take action and create the Kids Home Alone Emergency Preparedness Program. The American Red Cross of the Poconos was able to reach more than 500 fifth graders through the program’s eight interactive workshop stations, which feature hands-on activities, videos, and games. These stations teach 10-11 year olds how to stay safe in various disaster situations and the importance of putting together a family disaster plan and emergency kit.  Post-evaluation for the workshops showed 90 percent of the students would recommend this program to other students and indicated the information was useful to them.

Innovative Use of Technology

North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication (ND)

In 2011, North Dakota State University led the development of two Smartphone apps to address the needs of the North Dakotans affected by disasters: 

The Disaster Recovery Log app, free to Android smart phone users, was designed to help individuals recover from damage caused by flooding and other disasters.  Utilizing the smartphone’s camera and voice recorder features to document disaster damage, users are able to download and share information with disaster relief agencies, insurance representatives, and other organizations. 

The Winter Survival Kit smartphone app helps individuals stranded during a winter storm find their current location, dial 911, notify friends and family of their situation/location, and calculate how long they can run their engine to keep warm while staying safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.  It is available for free for both Android and iPhone smart phone users.

Volunteer Integration

West Pierce County Fire and Rescue CERT Program (WA)

The West Pierce County Fire and Rescue CERT Program boasts 369 members who serve a population of more than 90,000 citizens.  The program integrates members of the whole community, bringing together diverse populations including members of the military, first responders, teachers, clergy, social workers, those who speak English as a second language, business owners, and even marine biologists to learn more about their local risks and to prepare one another and their neighborhoods for any disaster or emergency event.  159 new members have been recruited since 2011, allowing volunteers to reach deeper into the community with preparedness topics such as earthquake readiness, emergency shelter and evacuation readiness, and even medical triage. 

Community Preparedness Heroes

Michael Parker (CA)

When Captain Michael J. Parker assumed command of the Headquarters Bureau for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, he set out to improve his department’s communication with the community.  He identified several partners to help improve and focus the Department’s messaging, and introduced the department to new platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

In 2012 the Los Angeles County area was being terrorized by a serial arsonist. In response Joint Information System named “Arson Watch LA” was established that used agency websites, Facebook, Twitter, Nixle, and YouTube. Within 36 hours, Arson Watch LA had over 1000 fans on Facebook and 1500 followers on Twitter, with an extended reach of 29,000 people. On Sunday, January 1, 2012, Arson Watch LA released security footage of the suspect to all social network sites and agency websites.  By 10 p.m., tips began to pour into the tip line regarding information pertaining to the video.  By 3 a.m. the suspect was captured in West Hollywood.

Mohamed Ali (WA)

During a severe windstorm in 2011 the Department of Public Health saw a spike in the number of deaths related to carbon monoxide poisoning.  When the forecast in King County called for another significant winter storm event, Mohamed Ali made calls to members of the Somali Health Board and religious and community leaders, stressing the need to talk to community members about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Local leaders crafted a voicemail message in Somali and English that was robo-dialed to thousands of Somali’s and East Africans in King County. They included carbon monoxide poisoning prevention messaging and winter travel warnings. Mohamed’s phone number was included in the message so if anyone had questions they could call him. The following morning, Mohamed was awakened to phone call after phone call and was responded to multiple requests for assistance.

Mohamed’s actions helped save lives:  there were no fatalities attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning, and a 90 percent reduction in carbon monoxide hospital admissions was reported after the storm.

Scott Ellis (NJ)

After being forced to give up his dream job as a firefighter when he was paralyzed in an accident, Scott Ellis continued to dedicate his life to helping others.  As the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the Progressive Center for Independent Living in Hamilton, NJ, Scott has trained hundreds of individuals with access and functional needs on how to prepare for emergencies, conducted adaptive equipment demonstrations and access and functional needs awareness/sensitivity training for first responders, and served as a leader in his local CERT program and provided CERT training to individuals with access and functional needs

Second Annual Recipient of the John D. Solomon Preparedness Award

Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE)

The John D. Solomon Preparedness Award is named for the late creator of the groundbreaking blog, In Case of Emergency, Read Blog: A Citizen’s Eye View Of Public Preparedness. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate once stated that John, “Set the standard for what it means to be part of our nation’s emergency management team.”

This year, the Second Annual John D. Solomon Preparedness Award is presented to the Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) for their outstanding engagement efforts and their singular ability to collaborate and work as a team with a broad scope of organizations in disaster preparedness and response.   Their efforts exemplify the commitment to teamwork and broad scope that hallmarked John’s work. BRACE coordinates with nearly 500 different organizations, engaging in efforts that reach the business community, children and youth, underserved populations, faith-based organizations, first responders, and individuals with access and functional needs, and more. However, BRACE’s commitment to teamwork extends beyond their vision of making their community “the most disaster resilient in America.” BRACE responds to requests from across the country from communities seeking to replicate the programs and services provided by BRACE, and regularly shares their insight and experiences with other jurisdictions through correspondence and presentations. BRACE also strives to innovate and improve on emergency preparedness efforts, engaging in a lessons learned process in which BRACE and its partners identified shortfalls following Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and Katrina, and took steps to address those shortfalls.

Honorable Mentions

Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

  • Southeast Florida Regional Citizen Corps (FL)
  • Green River Regional Citizen Corps (KY)
  • Palm Beach County Citizen Corps (FL)
  • Prince George’s County Citizen Corps (MD)

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

  • Arizona Citizen Corps (AZ)
  • Delaware Citizen Corps (DE)
  • Washington Citizen Corps (WA)
  • Oregon Citizen Corps (OR)

Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives

  • West Pierce County Fire and Rescue CERT Program (WA)
  • New York City CERT (NY)
  • Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office CERT (MA)
  • Georgetown University Campus CERT (DC)

Awareness to Action

  • Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) (FL)
  • Massachusetts Office of Disability (MA)
  • Golden Triangle Business Development District (DC)
  • North Alabama Medical Reserve Corps (AL)

Promising Partnerships

  • American Red Cross Mississippi (MS)
  • King County Healthcare Coalition (WA)
  • San Francisco Interfaith Council (CA)
  • Islamic Relief USA (VA) 

Preparing the Whole Community

  • New York City Citizen Corps (NY)
  • Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) (FL)
  • American Red Cross Nashville (TN)
  • King County Healthcare Coalition (WA) 

Innovative Use of Technology

  • Ready Georgia Mobile App (GA)
  • Michael J. Parker (CA)
  • American Red Cross Mile High Region (CO)
  • #SMEMchat (MD)

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness

  • Meridian Medical Arts Charter High School (ID)
  • Santa Rosa Citizen Corps (FL)
  • Stutsman County Citizen Corps (ND)
  • Alamo Area Citizen Corps (TX)

Volunteer Integration

  • CERT Program & Volunteers, City of Newport Beach (CA)
  • Neighborhood Ready Project (OR)
  • Town of Scarborough (ME)
  • Chicago CERT (IL)     

Community Preparedness Heroes

  • Peter Forman (NY)
  • Michelle Hanneken (IL)
  • Michael Weil (LA)
  • Kelle Landavazo (OR)
  • Kellie Bentz (NY)

2011

The White House Honors Winners of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards

 On Thursday, January 19th, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with the White House honored the 2011 Individual and Community Preparedness Award winners in Washington, D.C. as Champions of Change. These local leaders were recognized for their outstanding achievements in better preparing their communities for disaster events and for helping to build a more resilient nation.

More than 150 White House attendees, including Secretary Janet Napolitano, Special Assistant to the President of Homeland Security, Richard Reed and numerous online viewers gathered to listen to the honorees share their innovative and successful approaches to community preparedness. From the invaluable resources John Solomon published on public preparedness to Venus Majeski's passionate commitment to integrating individuals with functional and access needs into disaster readiness activities, each honoree represented the extraordinary impact they and their organizations have had in building a Culture of Preparedness.

Over the past year, our nation has experienced more billion dollar disasters than ever before and millions of Americans in nearly every state and territory have been affected. Being prepared for these and other events and knowing what to do if a disaster strikes your home, business or the school your children attend, is critical to saving lives. It is this kind of work at a local level our award recipients are leading to ensure our communities are safer, stronger and more resilient.

For instance:

  • The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians developed a "Send Word Now" system which provides SMS text, email and voice alerts to tribal members during emergencies.
  • The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago trained more than 55,000 youth and their families in over 20 different low income neighborhoods.
  • The Earthquake Country Alliance increased individual and community awareness about earthquake preparedness through its Great California ShakeOut, an annual statewide earthquake drill involving millions of participants.
  • The New York City Citizen Corps program collaborated with more than 60 community organizations, government agencies, private sector organizations, and volunteer programs to build a stronger, more durable city.

Leadership from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and FEMA selected winners from among applicants in 36 States, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Applications reflected the full breadth of the Whole Community, with submissions from faith-based, tribal, non-profit, private sector, and community-based organizations, as well as individuals.

Learn more about these remarkable individuals and organizations working on the front lines of their states, cities and communities to build a stronger, more durable nation. As Secretary Napolitano stated, "We commend the innovative practices and achievements these individuals bring to the field of emergency management in order to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared."

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

Arkansas State Citizen Corps (AR)

Arkansas has 21 registered Citizen Corps Councils and 11 registered Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). During 2011, Arkansas improved their social media presence; developed and implemented the Ready Arkansas: A State of Preparedness program; trained new CERT instructors and increased participation of volunteers and community outreach.  As a program, Ar@adem.arkansas CCP has begun integrating programs, like the Arkansas Citizen Volunteer Advisory Council (ACVAC), into an umbrella program to be better identifiable and consolidate efforts.  They were instrumental in setting long-term goals for the Ready Arkansas Network.  During the federally declared disasters in Arkansas in 2011, information previously collected for the Arkansas Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (ARVOAD), aided in the quick response to flooding, tornadoes and winter storms.  Arkansas CCP now tracks volunteer hours to enable our volunteers to be eligible for Presidential Service Awards.  Volunteers track their hours at http://bit.ly/CCPVolunteer_Hours.  This information is reviewed quarterly to check for qualifying volunteers.

Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives

New York City Citizen Corps (NY)

The New York City Citizen Corps Council (NYC CCC) engages the disaster volunteer community through its annual Disaster Volunteer Conference, Volunteer Development Program, and National Preparedness Month. NYC CCC has collaborated with more than 60 community organizations, government, private sector, and volunteer programs. In Fall 2010, the NYC CCC’s Special Needs Task Force co-hosted the Emergency Preparedness Strategies for People with Special Needs Symposium, bringing together more than 130 consumers, caregivers, and home care providers. To engage community-based organizations who work with immigrants, the NYC CCC began the Immigrant Task Force Speaker Series in January 2011.

Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Initiatives

NBC Universal CERT (CA)

The NBC Universal CERT program consists of 250 employee volunteers who have completed the standard CERT training. This group is led by one full-time Emergency Manager and a group of volunteers who act as a CERT advisory council to lead the program. During the  award period NBC Universal CERT team developed the following:  improved the check-in process and accountability of CERT members by building a CERT focused staging and accountability system to efficiently check-in, stage, and deploy CERT members ; developed a Rapid Intervention Team for CERT members; assisted in conducting a preparedness fair involving various community partners; supplemented  the City’s CERT team for Burbank’s 2010 ShakeOut drill; and participated in an exercise conducted at the on-site child care center to test the efficacy of a pediatric curriculum.

Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness

American Red Cross of Greater Chicago (IL)

During the award period the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Chapter’s Preparedness Safety Program provided preparedness programs that reached and trained more than 55,000 youth and their families in over 20 different low income neighborhoods.  The Kid Safety Program taught student fire safety and prevention; water safety and drowning prevention; and proper hygiene and disease prevention techniques. Examples of community-kid preparedness efforts including improvements in “Community Safety Days,” “Team Firestopper,” and other prevention and safety programs aimed at children.

Preparing the Whole Community

San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians (CA)

The San Manuel reservation lies at the intersection of several fault lines along the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. The CERT and the Tribal Emergency Response Team (CERT/TERT) utilizes a comprehensive Wi-Fi system supported by an information technology department has created unique and robust alert systems to inform the community immediately of an emergency.  The Tribe has implemented a “Send Word Now” system which provides SMS text, email and voice alerts to community members on a communication platform of choice. All of the CERT/TERT instructors are subject matter experts who provide training at no cost to participants. This year disaster response capabilities were increased by strategically placing mobile disaster support kits that provide instant access to hand tools and additional resources that may be needed on site in an emergency. The CERT/TERT is also in the process of providing in-home emergency survival kits for each Tribal residence along with back-up power sources for each home and business.

Promising Partnerships

Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) (FL)

The Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) is a non-profit organization and is a public-private partnership that has expanded the membership of the Citizen Corps Councils it supports to a membership of over 450 organizations representing over 100,000 individuals from the multiple sectors reflecting the whole community.  During the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, BRACE recruited, registered, oriented, deployed and coordinated over 950 volunteers within 30 hours of activation. BRACE ultimately coordinated the service of over 1,900 volunteers that provided in excess of 10,000 hours of volunteer service during the months long activation for the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. BRACE also convened the leadership of public and private organizations from 12 different sectors of the community to plan a comprehensive recovery effort that considered the impacts of the Oil Spill on the economy, ecology, physical and emotional health, and other response and recovery priorities.

Engagement with Faith-Based Communities

David L. Maack (WI)

David Maack works with the faith-based community and partnered with the City of Racine Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare to present a forum on preparedness for our churches and faith-based organizations.  46 individuals representing churches attended the seminar.  A concerted effort was also made to reach inner city churches. Goals included reaching an underrepresented community and fostering a culture of preparedness within the faith-based community.  Mr. Maack was a plenary session keynote speaker at a Faithful Readiness conference sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security.

Innovative Training and Education Programs

Washington State Emergency Management (Map Your Neighborhood) (WA)

The Washington State Emergency Management Division’s Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program prepares neighborhoods to survive emergencies and disaster situations, saving lives, reducing the severity of injuries and trauma, and reducing property damage. MYN is currently active in thirty-four states, including Washington. MYN, designed to improve disaster readiness at the neighborhood level (generally 15-20 homes in urban areas or 5-7 in rural areas – MYN can also be implemented in condos and apartment complexes), teaches neighbors to rely on each other during the hours or days before fire, medical, police, or utility responders may be able to reach them.MYN begins with a single individual inviting the neighborhood to his or her home for a 90-minute meeting, facilitated by the MYN program DVD. In 2010-2011 MYN WA State obtained 55 new partners, and was implemented in six new states, and two new countries. MYN also won FEMA’s Challenge.gov Award this year.

Outstanding Drill, Exercise, or Event

The Great Central United States ShakeOut (TN)

At 10:15 AM. on April 28, 2011, communities throughout the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) Member States (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee) and Associate States of Georgia, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, took part in the largest earthquake preparedness effort in central U.S. history, the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.  The ShakeOut was designed as a way for the general public to learn about earthquakes and take specific actions to prepare themselves before the next damaging earthquake strikes.  It was promoted through a central website, where people were encouraged to register and pledge their participation to take part in the drill.  Participants were asked to use resources on the website (drill manuals and broadcasts, scenarios, and safety information) to help develop their drills.   Other ShakeOut promotional collateral (videos, web banners, flyers, etc.) were made available on the website as well. 

Awareness to Action

Earthquake Country Alliance (ShakeOut) (CA)

The ECA is composed currently of three regional alliances: the Southern California Earthquake Alliance, the Bay Area Earthquake Alliance, and the Redwood Coast Tsunami Working Group. Many organizations work together with ECA including SCEC, CalEMA, USGS, California Earthquake Authority, FEMA, American Red Cross, State Farm, and many city and county government agencies across California. The ECA’s cornerstone activity is The Great California ShakeOut, an annual statewide earthquake drill that began in 2008 and which involves millions of participants each year all across California. The ShakeOut has now been replicated in many states and in other countries. SCEC hosts the website, registration system, and provides consultation for each of these drills, to maintain consistency in the brand and work towards unified earthquake preparedness. ECA distributes Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country and other publications, and maintains and supports the EPIcenter network of museums and other informal learning venues. The ECA also publishes a number of region-specific earthquake and tsunami preparedness handbooks, as well as maintaining a website (www.earthquakecountry.org).

Innovative Use of Technology

Citizen Corps of St. Clair County (MI)

The Citizen Corps of St. Clair County launched a new Public Preparedness Campaign called "Be Ready St. Clair County" that focuses on FEMA's Ready message of "Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Prepared." St. Clair created an interactive website for the campaign, www.BeReadyStClairCounty.org, where residents can click “My Kit,” “My Plan,” and “My Info” to help prepare themselves and their families.  The site also contains preparedness videos and fact sheets on area risks and how to be prepared.  During its most active month the website reached nearly 5000 page views.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages were also created.  The Facebook group has over 700 members, and is most active during severe weather events in which residents share information with one another by reporting on storm activity, follow watches and warnings, and post storm-related pictures and videos.  A series of preparedness PSAs were also recorded by various officials and community members and aired on six radio stations over 1,600 times during the award period. Video PSAs airing before movies at local theatres were seen by approximately 330,000 people. St. Clair County also launched its first annual video and ad contest.

Outstanding Achievement in Public Health

Cobb County Public Health Preparedness and Response (GA)

Cobb County Safety Village is an eight-acre safety training environment where elementary school students learn about public health, safety, and emergency preparedness through interactive learning modules and activities. The village features reduced-scale buildings on street replicas that include sidewalks, traffic signals, and other local structures and landmarks. In 2011 Cobb Public Health designed a six-part education project with the goal of creating and implementing hands-on interactive safety and preparedness training for children that aligns with local, state, and federal preparedness guidelines. The project, funded by a $78,000 grant from the CDC, was specifically designed for presentation in the miniature public health building in the safety village. Over 20,000 local students are expected to complete this training during 2011.

Community Preparedness Heroes

Brenda Gormley (TX)

Brenda Gormley has been volunteering as the Denton County, Texas, CERT Coordinator and has grown the Denton County CERT program to include over 500 members. She has trained and established specialized teams to respond to local and regional search and rescue, damage assessment and rehab needs, coordinated cross-training with the Denton County MRC and other Citizen Corps programs, and facilitated the merger of Denton County VOAD and the Denton County Citizen Corps Council. Brenda has also been instrumental in the success of the youth preparedness initiative in Denton County through Teen CERT. In addition to her other CERT duties, she personally instructs two Teen CERT classes per semester in Denton County, and at one time during 2010, three. Brenda is the secretary of the Denton County Citizen Corps Council, serves as the Citizen Corps representative on the Urban Area Security Initiative Working Group and as the Citizen Corps representative on the Non-Profit Security Grant scoring committee.

Tod Pritchard (WI)

Tod Pritchard joined Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) as the State Preparedness Coordinator in August 2010. He reinvigorated the statewide preparedness campaign, "ReadyWisconsin" by updating our website, coordinating various weather campaigns, as well as September Preparedness Month, and helping launch a student preparedness initiative in Wisconsin. The campaigns he coordinated include the 2010 Wisconsin Winter Awareness Campaign (with NASCAR driver and Wisconsin native Matt Kenseth) and STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning) in Wisconsin. The program teaches fifth grade students to learn to be ready for disasters and emergencies. Tod is currently coordinating September Preparedness Month 2011.

Carolyn Bluhm (CO)

For six years Carolyn Bluhm, from the Denver Office of Emergency Management, has provided CERT and community preparedness trainings to diverse populations. She has gone out of her way to train community members and organizations in multiple diverse communities including low-income Hispanic neighborhoods, multi-ethnic Muslim populations, multi-tribal urban Native Americans, African American and Asian American communities. She provides these communities with training primarily on evenings and weekends, when the most people could attend. She volunteers much of her own time to address the training and technical assistance needs of the communities with whom she works. Due to her efforts at a local church a fully Spanish-bilingual CERT team was created with over 60 people. She also helped the Colorado Muslim Society to establish a CERT and emergency operations team bi-lingual in Arabic, and a number of other languages such as Farsi, Urdu, and Somali. She trained CERT trainers in both communities so that they can perpetuate the trainings on their own.

Venus Majeski (NJ)

Venus Majeski is the Director of Development and Community Relations for the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities/Cerebral Palsy Association of Middlesex County in New Jersey.  She is the lead for the Alianza Emergency Preparedness Project Plus (AEPPplus). Through this project, staff members meet individually with people with disabilities and their families to develop Self-Directed Emergency Preparedness Plans (S-DEPP).  In addition to keeping the plan in their “Go Bags” with other typical emergency items, such as batteries and a flashlight, the plan is also loaded onto a USB drive and connected to a wrist band that a person who has difficulty speaking or remembering important personal information can wear and share with an emergency shelter worker. Through AEPPplus, Venus and her colleagues also work to produce real relationships between the individuals, families, and communities and traditional disaster readiness and recovery actors, including first responders, the Red Cross, and Salvation Army so that people with disabilities are not only being served, but come to the table in positions of community leadership. The project focuses special attention to reaching out to minorities, especially the Hispanic/Latino community.

First Annual Recipient of the John D. Solomon Preparedness Award

John D. Solomon, Creator of In Case of Emergency, Read Blog (NY)

Abby Solomon, on behalf of John D. Solomon

John’s blog, In Case of Emergency, Read Blog: A Citizen’s Eye View Of Public Preparedness was launched in March 2008 as research for a book he was writing on emergency preparedness from the vantage point of a father-husband-and-son interested in helping safeguard his family and community. His body of work until his untimely death in November2010 was striking in its reporting, analysis, engagement and impact, in preparing the public, informing professionals, and effecting change in the public and private sectors. John reported from conferences he’d helped to organize as well as those he had not; posting interviews and being interviewed; devising legislation to incentivize the sale of emergency supplies via “tax holidays”; evaluating how government and non-profit disaster relief organizations were using social media tools; celebrating others’ initiatives by calling them to the attention of policy makers; conducting contests to foster citizen preparedness; and videotaping leaders in the preparedness community for their tips on readiness for his series “What Should I Tell the Public?” including one with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, which they filmed just two months before John’s death. At his passing, Administrator Fugate stated that John “set the standard for what it meant to be part of our nation's emergency management team.”

2010

FEMA Announces National Achievement Award Winners

Awards celebrate achievements in community preparedness

Released September 1, 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards!

Presented in ten categories, these awards recognize innovative practices and achievements of communities and individuals across the nation that make our neighborhoods safer, stronger, and better prepared to manage any emergency situation. These award winners illustrate how citizens can take action and do their part to be prepared. The public is a valuable resource in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. Every day around the country, citizens like these take part in community emergency planning, foster successful public-private partnerships, prioritize collaboration, demonstrate creative and innovative local problem solving, implement sound programs that can be modeled for use by other communities, and show how individuals can take action to make a difference in their community.

And the winners are...

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Initiatives Award

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Initiatives Award:  North Dakota Citizen Corps Council

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award – Serving a Population over 750,000:  Fresno Citizen Corps Council (CA)

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award – Serving a Population under 750,000:  Washoe County Citizen Homeland Security Council (NV)

Collaborative Preparedness Planning Award:  Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County (WA)

Preparing the Public Award:  East Baton Rouge Parish Citizen Corps Council (LA)

Preparing Community Organizations Award:  Cedar Park Citizen Corps Council (TX)

Volunteer Integration Award:  District of Columbia Citizen Corps Council

Newcomer Award

Outstanding Council Serving a Rural Area:  Citizen Corps Council of North Idaho (ID); New Lenox Citizen Corps (IL)

Individual Achievement Awards:  David Ball, Riverside, CA; Timika Hoffman-Zoller, Chicago, IL; Mary Jean Erschen, Lodi, WI

Award finalists

Outstanding State Citizen Corps Initiatives Award
North Dakota Citizen Corps Council
California State Citizen Corps Council
Arkansas State Citizen Corps Council
Michigan Citizen Community Emergency Response Coordinating Council

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award – Serving a Population over 750,000
Fresno Citizen Corps Council (CA)
New York City Citizen Corps Council (NY)
Harris County Citizen Corps Council (TX)
Arizona Central Region Citizen Corps Council (AZ)

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award – Serving a Population under 750,000
Washoe County Citizen Homeland Security Council (NV)
San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Citizen Corps Council (CA)
New Castle County Citizen Corps Council (DE)
Escambia County Citizen Corps Council (FL)

Collaborative Preparedness Planning Award
Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County (WA)
Palatine Citizen Corps Council (IL)
Howard County Community Emergency Response Network (MD)
Nassau County Citizen Corps Council (NY)

Preparing the Public Award
Douglas County Citizen Corps Council (KS)
Albuquerque Citizen Corps Council (NM)
Greater Kirkland Citizen Corps Council (WA)
East Baton Rouge Parish Citizen Corps Council (LA)

Preparing Community Organizations Award
Cedar Park Citizen Corps Council (TX)
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Citizen Corps Council (AK)
Independence/Eastern Jackson County Citizen Corps (MO)
Duval County/Jacksonville Citizen Corps Council (FL)

Volunteer Integration Award
District of Columbia Citizen Corps Council (DC)
Prince George’s County Citizen Corps Council (MD)
Alamo Regional Citizen Corps Council (TX)
Anaheim Citizen Corps Council (CA)

The award winners were selected by a panel of emergency management leaders representing all levels of government, including FEMA, National Emergency Managers Association, and the International Association of Emergency Managers.

  • North Dakota Citizen Corps Council
  • Fresno Citizen Corps Council (CA)
  • Washoe County Citizen Homeland Security Council (NV)
  • Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County (WA)
  • East Baton Rouge Parish Citizen Corps Council (LA)
  • Cedar Park Citizen Corps Council (TX)
  • District of Columbia Citizen Corps Council (DC)
  • Citizen Corps Council of North Idaho (ID)
  • New Lenox Citizen Corps (IL)
  • David Ball - Riverside, California
  • Timika Hoffman-Zoller - Chicago, Illinois
  • Mary Jean Erschen - Lodi, Wisconsin

2009

2009 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards

The National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards:Celebrating Resilient Communities recognize innovative practices and achievements of Citizen Corps Councils across the nation that are making our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to manage any emergency situation.

Winning Citizen Corps Councils exemplify excellence in community emergency planning, foster successful public-private partnerships, prioritize collaboration, demonstrate creative and innovative local problem solving, and implement sound programs that can be modeled for use by other communities.

Deputy Administrator of FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate Timothy Manning, NEMA Incoming President David Maxwell, and IAEM President Russ Decker announced the award winners in each category at a ceremony during the 2009 National Conference on Community Preparedness (NCCP).

2009 National Citizen Corps Achievement Award Winners

  • Outstanding State/Territory Citizen Corps Initiatives Award: New Jersey State Citizen Corps Council
  • Outstanding Tribal Citizen Corps Council Award: United Tribes Technical College Citizen Corps Council (ND)
  • Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award (pop. under 1.5 mil): Denton County Citizen Corps Council (TX)
  • Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award (pop. over 1.5 mil): Sacramento Region Citizen Corps Council (CA)
  • Collaborative Preparedness Planning Award: Cottonwood Heights Citizen Corps (UT)
  • Preparing the Public Award: Farmington Hills / Farmington Citizen Corps Council (MI)
  • Preparing Community Organizations Award: Duval County / Jacksonville Citizen Corps (FL)
  • Volunteer Integration Award: Harris County Citizen Corps Council (TX)

 

2009 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards Honorable Mentions

Outstanding State/Territory Citizen Corps Initiatives Award

  • Arizona State Citizen Corps Council
  • Illinois Citizen Corps Council
  • Ohio Citizen Corps Council

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award (Serving a population under 1.5 million)

  • Fresno Citizen Corps Council (CA)
  • Citizen Corps Monterey County (CA)
  • San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Citizen Corps Council (CA)

Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award (Serving a population over 1.5 million)

  • Arizona Central Region Citizen Corps Council (AZ)
  • New York City Citizen Corps Council (NY)
  • Southeast Florida Regional Citizen Corps Task Force (FL) [Broward County Citizen Corps Council, Miami-Dade Citizen Corps Council, Monroe County Citizen Corps Council, Palm Beach County Citizen Corps Council]

Collaborative Preparedness Planning Award

  • Contra Costa County Citizen Corps (CA)
  • Douglas County Citizen Corps Council (KS)
  • San Francisco Citizen Corps Council (CA)

Preparing the Public Award

  • Bradford County Citizen Corps Council (PA)
  • Escambia County Citizen Corps Council (FL)
  • Nassau County Citizen Corps Council (NY)

Preparing Community Organizations Award

  • Adams County Citizen Corps Council (IL)
  • Independence / Eastern Jackson County Citizen Corps (MO)
  • Detroit / Wayne County Citizen Corps (MI)

Volunteer Integration Award

  • Cuyahoga County Citizen Corps (OH)
  • Northwest Fire's Citizen Corps Council (AZ)
  • Rowlett Citizen Corps Council (TX)

 

Last updated: 08/08/2014 - 03:37 PM