he Citizen Corps is the component of the USA Freedom Corps which affords individuals with opportunities to volunteer to help their communities prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. This is accomplished by bringing together local leaders, citizen volunteers, and a network of first response organizations (i.e., police, fire, emergency medical). The goal is to have citizens participate in making their communities safer, stronger, and better prepared for preventing and dealing with threats of terrorism, crime and all types of disaster. As you may know, there are five volunteer programs under the Citizen Corps. They are:
The Community Emergency Response Team – This response team provides training in emergency preparedness and basic response techniques to local trainers, who in turn, train citizens in their communities.
The Neighborhood Watch Program – Our country is endeavoring to expand this program which has existed for a number of years. Neighborhood Watch programs teach citizens to help themselves by identifying and reporting suspicious activity in their neighborhoods. ot only does the program help fight crime, it also improves neighborhood cohesiveness, creating a sense of neighborhood.
Volunteers in Police Service – These programs provide training for volunteers to perform administrative and non-intervention policing activities to free up law enforcement professionals for front line duty.
Medical Reserve Corps – This community-based program identifies volunteers, who are currently practicing or retired from the medical field, who will be trained to assist the emergency medical response community during large-scale emergencies.
Operation TIPS – Terrorism Information and Prevention System – This program enlists the help of American workers, who in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement. Workers are asked to be vigilant for suspicious activity and report their observations to law enforcement.
Our community has already trained thirty invividuals under the CERT part of this program. There are plans for additional training in the future. Our local Fire District is our laison for the Pima County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. The training falls under two agencies:
Arizona Division of Emergency Management
Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Contact your local agencies for futher information about Citizen Corps training programs available in your community. Additional information is listed below.