Fire Corps Supports Katrina Relief Efforts

Friday, 02 September 2005

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Fire Corps is encouraging all members of Fire Corps programs to take part in local initiatives towards helping those affected by the storm. "There are many ways that Fire Corps Citizen Advocates can assist the efforts from their communities across the United States," says Shawn Stokes, Director of Fire Corps. "Donating blood at their local blood banks, donating money to the relief fund efforts of our partners, supporting the members of their departments that may deploy to the Gulf Coast, and helping to support those members families while they are gone are all great ways for Fire Corps Citizen Advocates to help." Information on the relief efforts of the Fire Corps partners can be found on the Fire Corps website at www.firecorps.org.

In addition to individual efforts in their communities to help, some Fire Corps programs are coordinating program efforts to support local responses to the disaster. In Johnson County Arkansas, preparations are underway towards setting up care centers for those displaced by the storm. Johnson County RFD#1’s Fire Corps members from the University of the Ozarks Phi Beta Lambda organization are gearing up to help. "We’re working with various student organizations on campus to coordinate efforts towards supporting Johnson County Office of Emergency Management in assisting those that come to Johnson County," says Stacy Counts, Community Service Director for PBL. "This is an incredible opportunity to not only help the community we live in but those devastated by the storm." Efforts such as these are an excellent example of the work that Fire Corps Citizen Advocates can play in a community in a time of need.

While both individual and group efforts like those outlined above are helpful and encouraged, it is extremely important that Fire Corps members do not attempt to go directly to the affected areas to help. "FEMA and the US Fire Administration have asked that first responders do not self dispatch to those areas. It is extremely important that Fire Corps members also follow that request" says Stokes. "It is critical that Fire Corps members only do what citizens in their community are doing locally and what is requested through their chain of command within their departments."

As a program partner of the Department of Homeland Security’s grass-roots initiative Citizen Corps, Fire Corps works through local Citizen Corps Councils to promote opportunities for citizens to assist their local fire and EMS departments. Fire Corps serves as a gateway to information for and about fire department programs and meets a citizen's desire to serve, as well as a department's need for support.

Fire Corps is coordinated nationally by the International Association of Fire Chiefs' Volunteer Combination Officers Section, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Volunteer Fire Council, and the Department of Homeland Security's US Fire Administration and Office of State and Local Government Preparedness and Coordination.

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