Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 caused many Americans to wonder how they can help prepare their communities. The Citizen Corps Partner Programs listed below give citizens the opportunity get involved. Citizen Corps' five federally sponsored partner programs help build capacity for first responders through the use of volunteers.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community. The program is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Please visit the CERT program web page for more information.
The Fire Corps promotes the use of citizen advocates to enhance the capacity of resource-constrained fire and rescue departments at all levels: volunteer, combination, and career. Citizen advocates can assist local fire departments in a range of activities including fire safety outreach, youth programs, and administrative support. Fire Corps provides resources to assist fire and rescue departments in creating opportunities for citizen advocates and promotes citizen participation. Fire Corps is funded through DHS and is managed and implemented through a partnership between the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Please visit Fire Corps for more information.
National Neighborhood Watch Program
The National Neighborhood Watch Program (formerly USAonWatch), housed within the National Sheriffs’ Association, has worked to unite law enforcement agencies, private organizations, and individual citizens in a nation-wide effort to reduce crime and improve local communities. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Neighborhood Watch programs have expanded beyond their traditional crime prevention role to help neighborhoods focus on disaster preparedness, emergency response and terrorism awareness. The Neighborhood Watch Program draws upon the compassion of average citizens, asking them to lend their neighbors a hand. Please visit http://www.nnw.org/ for more information.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program strengthens communities by helping medical, public health and other volunteers offer their expertise throughout the year as well as during local emergencies and other times of community need. MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response programs and also supplement existing community public health initiatives, such as outreach and prevention, immunization programs, blood drives, case management, care planning, and other efforts. The MRC program is administered by HHS. Please visit the Medical Reserve Corps for more information.
Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) works to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. VIPS serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs. Funded by DOJ, VIPS is managed and implemented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Please visit Volunteers in Police Service for more information.
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS also works closely with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to promote volunteer service activities that support homeland security and community safety. CNCS is a federal agency that operates nationwide service programs such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America. Participants in these programs may support Citizen Corps Council activities by helping to establish training and information delivery systems for neighborhoods, schools, and businesses, and by helping with family preparedness and crime prevention initiatives in a community or across a region. Please visit CNCS for more information.