Research has shown that an informed, engaged, and involved public is a public that is not only better able to prepare and respond to a disaster, but it is also a public that enjoys a greater sense of community, lower crime rates, better performing schools, and an increased sense of personal happiness. Citizen Corps offers several ways to become civically engaged in communities throughout Washington.
To get more information about the Citizen Corps programs in your area, click on the link under each of the individual programs.
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 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.
Through the Medical Reserve Corps, currently practicing and retired volunteers trained in medicine and others interested in public health issues will be able to assist during large-scale emergencies and will augment the medical response community. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers can also play a productive role in meeting pressing but non-emergency public health needs of communities throughout the year.
The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) created the National Neighborhood Watch Program to assist citizens and law enforcement. In 2002, the NSA in partnership with USA Freedom Corps, Citizen Corps and the U.S. Department of Justice launched USAonWatch, the face of the revitalized Neighborhood Watch initiative, which represents the expanded role of watch programs throughout the United States.
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.
My Preparedness Intitative (MyPI) provides a challenging youth preparedness and leadership development opportunity to empower teenagers to take ownership of their preparedness and to assist their families and surrounding communities. MyPI offers a flexible 5–10 week program in which teenagers learn about disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, social media in emergencies, and more.