CFSI Hosts Fire Corps Congressional Briefing

Friday, 13 October 2006

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), in cooperation with Fire Corps and Citizen Corps, hosted a briefing about the Fire Corps program on Monday, September 25. Attendees included congressional staff members as well as Representative John Boozman (R-AR). Sarah Lee, Director of Fire Corps, Lori Moon, Fire Corps Program Coordinator, and Karen Marsh, Director of Citizen Corps, conducted the briefing.

Lee and Moon began the briefing by showing one of the new Fire Corps promotional videos and then providing the audience with an introduction to Fire Corps. Dayna Hilton, the coordinator of the Johnson County RFD #1 Fire Corps in Clarksville, Arkansas, was invited to discuss the impact her department’s successful Fire Corps program has had on her community. "Fire Corps has truly made our fire safety program more successful," Hilton said. "We would not have been able to reach as many people with fire safety messages without Fire Corps."

Kari Wood, a member of the Johnson County RFD #1 Fire Corps, spoke about her personal experience with Fire Corps, including participating in an initiative where she reads to first and second graders to impart fire safety messages. "I know that I am making a difference," Wood said. She later noted, "Knowing that I am able to have that impact is amazing and incredible and Fire Corps made that possible."

Representative Boozman, who has actively supported Fire Corps and whose district includes Johnson County, praised the program and encouraged other congressional offices to support Fire Corps. "It’s such a great program and it is certainly something our office is committed to supporting," he said, adding, "We are so proud of our Clarksville group which has done such a great job."

Marsh concluded the briefing with an overview of how Fire Corps fits into the broader umbrella of Citizen Corps. She stressed the need for citizen preparedness and participation, as well as the importance of citizens, first responders, and government working together in community planning.

CFSI’s congressional briefings are informal roundtable discussions which allow congressional staff to learn more about the legislative priorities of the fire and emergency services and how their Senator or Representative can become more involved in public safety initiatives both on Capitol Hill and in their congressional districts. Past topics of discussion include the role of first responders in the Department of Homeland Security, proposed changes to the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program, the reorganization of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and wildland/urban interface fires.

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