Citizen Corps is a part of the USA Freedom Corps and is coordinated at the federal level by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The primary focus of this initiative is to create public education, training and volunteer opportunities to support community and family safety.
While the Citizen Corps project consists of several programs, the cornerstones of the initiative are:
· Local Citizen Corps Councils
· Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
· Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
At the state level, the Georgia Emergency Management (GEMA) will act as the state coordinator for Citizen Corps to facilitate this locally driven initiative by working through existing GEMA Areas. The state Citizens Corps coordinator will work closely with local governments, other state organizations, FEMA, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies to implement a successful Citizen Corps program for Georgia.
The Citizen Corps effort will be coordinated at the local level by a Citizen Corps Council, or a similar coordinating body, which will bring together leaders from the relevant sectors of the community. The purpose of the council is to have all decision makers at the table to manage existing volunteer resources and to direct the overall Citizen Corps initiative in the community. Creating a new organization is unnecessary. If a community already has a strong team that brings together all sectors of the community, this group may take on the responsibility of promoting Citizen Corps. Communities are encouraged to leverage existing resources and build on current successful programs whenever possible.
Major disasters in a community can overload the capability of first responders, especially during the first 12 to 72 hours of the response. Having citizens who are better prepared to take care of themselves and others during times of crisis will allow first responders to focus their attention on the most critical, life-threatening situations. These volunteers also may play an important role in smaller emergencies or in public education campaigns.
In Georgia the initial focus will be on establishing local councils and conducting Community Emergency Response Team training.
To learn more about the national Citizen Corps initiative, visit the following Web site: www.citizencorps.gov
If you are looking for the closest Citizen Corps program near where you live or work, please follow this link to locate your local Citizen Corps program http://www.citizencorps.gov/cc/searchCouncil.do?submitByZip
For more information on Citizen Corps you can contact :
Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security
Citizen Corps Program Coordinator