Fire Corps Attends National Citizen Corps Council Meeting

Friday, 16 June 2006

Representatives from Fire Corps attended the National Citizen Corps Council Annual Meeting on June 1, 2006, in Washington, DC. The meeting included a speech by President Bush and sessions covering various aspects of emergency preparedness.

Citizen Corps is an initiative under USA Freedom Corps that coordinates volunteer activities that make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. Fire Corps, the newest of five programs that make up Citizen Corps, allows community members to offer their time and talents to their local fire/EMS departments in a non-emergency capacity.

Bush first introduced USA Freedom Corps in his 2002 State of the Union Address. In his remarks at the Council meeting, he commended those who had answered his call to service. "I thank you for representing the true strength of America, which are those who are willing to volunteer in our communities to make the country a better place," he said.

Bush also praised the efforts of Citizen Corps in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. "Citizen Corps is making a significant difference in our country," Bush said. "When the hurricanes hit our Gulf Coast last year, members of the Citizen Corps played a critical role in the relief efforts. I want to thank you for answering the call to service. Congress needs to provide the Citizen Corps with the funding you need to keep our communities safe and prepared for emergencies."

Many local Fire Corps programs were among those who found ways to help in the wake of the hurricanes. Fire Corps efforts ranged from donating mobile office space, to directly serving the needs of evacuees, to helping families find missing relatives.

Bush was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who also addressed the audience. Following the president's remarks, Council members met for sessions on a range of topics including the current and future state of community preparedness, pandemic influenza planning, building relationships and collaboration for a culture of preparedness, understanding personal preparedness barriers and motivators and community preparedness priorities.

"Fire Corps is proud to be a part of this important meeting," said Sarah Lee, Director of Fire Corps. "Along with the other four Citizen Corps programs, Fire Corps plays a vital role in emergency preparedness and response in communities across the nation."

The National Citizen Corps Council brings together national leaders of organizations and associations representing the emergency responder disciplines, community and volunteer service organizations, government and the private sector. These organizations work together at the national level and encourage their membership at the state and local level to collaborate in support of Citizen Corps. The National Citizen Corps Council meets at least once a year.

For more information on Citizen Corps, go to www.citizencorps.gov. To learn more about Fire Corps, visit www.firecorps.org.

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