The mission of the Rowlett Citizen Corps Council (RCCC) is to positively impact the community through its programs, services, and members. Contributing to this mission is the Rowlett Fire Corps program, known as CERT-Relief.

One major accomplishment of the CERT-Relief program is REHAB ONE, a 1984 RV that has been transformed into a 24/7 canteen response vehicle. Purchased in September 2005, REHAB ONE has become an essential part of CERT-Relief’s incident response, enabling members to provide food and beverages for firefighters and emergency responders during lengthy emergency incidents.

In addition to the REHAB ONE project, CERT-Relief volunteers host public safety expos to promote volunteerism in their community. Their most recent goal is to supply privately funded weather radios to 16 daycare and private schools in the Rowlett community by the end of the calendar year.

All but two of the 40 registered CERT-Relief members are also trained in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) curriculum. CERT-Relief volunteers are encouraged to take independent study classes, such as National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) training, to better educate themselves on how to prepare, prevent, and respond to emergencies of all kinds. This cross-training between Fire Corps and CERT has proven to be beneficial to CERT-Relief volunteers over the past year, allowing volunteers to provide emergency assistance to potential flood victims when Rowlett received 11 inches of rain. CERT-Relief volunteers were also called upon to provide care and shelter for 50 employees and patrons when a suspicious substance caused the evacuation of a U.S. Post Office in Rowlett during one of the hottest days in Texas.

Whitney Laning, President of RCCC, says of the volunteers, "They all have passion for helping others and for making their community better. The program inspires citizens to act and take responsibility for their neighborhood. Our members exemplify what it means to volunteer in your community." The RCCC also works hand-in-hand with two programs, Neighborhood Watch and Volunteers in Police Service, to create a safe and secure community. These two programs, which like Fire Corps and CERT are core components of the Citizen Corps strategy, are managed under the auspice of City of Rowlett Police Department.

The RCCC contributes their success to four factors: partnership and collaboration, advocacy and public relations, retention and recruitment, and flexible leadership. For more information on CERT-Relief, contact RCCC President Whitney Laning at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (214) 417-4857, or visit their website www.rowlettcitizencorps.org.

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