Programs & Partners

How Can I Help? What Can I Do?  Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks of Septmeber 11th, 2001 caused many Americans to wonder how they can help prepare their communities. The Citizen Corps Partner Programs listed below give citizens the opportunity get involved. Citizen Corps’ five federally sponsored partner programs help build capacity for first responders through the use of volunteers.

Additionally, the Citizen Corps Affiliate Program expands the resources and materials available to states and local communities by partnering with Programs and Organizations that offer resources for public education, outreach, and training; represent volunteers interested in helping to make their community safer; or offer volunteer service opportunities to support first responders, disaster relief activities, and community safety efforts.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community. The program is administered by DHS.

The Fire Corps

The Fire Corps promotes the use of citizen advocates to enhance the capacity of resource-constrained fire and rescue departments at all levels: volunteer, combination, and career. Citizen advocates can assist local fire departments in a range of activities including fire safety outreach, youth programs, and administrative support. Fire Corps provides resources to assist fire and rescue departments in creating opportunities for citizen advocates and promotes citizen participation. Fire Corps is funded through DHS and is managed and implemented through a partnership between the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

USAonWatch (UOW)-Neighborhood Watch

USAonWatch (UOW)-Neighborhood Watch works to provide information, training and resources to citizens and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Neighborhood Watch programs have expanded beyond their traditional crime prevention role to help neighborhoods focus on disaster preparedness, emergency response and terrorism awareness. USAonWatch-Neighborhood Watch is administered by the National Sheriffs’ Association in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program strengthens communities by helping medical, public health and other volunteers offer their expertise throughout the year as well as during local emergencies and other times of community need. MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response programs and also supplement existing community public health initiatives, such as outreach and prevention, immunization programs, blood drives, case management, care planning, and other efforts. The MRC program is administered by HHS.

Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff (VIPS)

Volunteers in Partnership with the Sheriff (VIPS) works to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. VIPS serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs. Funded by DOJ, VIPS is managed and implemented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Citizen Corps is coordinated nationally by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS also works closely with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to promote volunteer service activities that support homeland security and community safety. CNCS is a federal agency that operates nationwide service programs such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America. Participants in these programs may support Citizen Corps Council activities by helping to establish training and information delivery systems for neighborhoods, schools, and businesses, and by helping with family preparedness and crime prevention initiatives in a community or across a region.

Securing our safety and freedom requires that we all work together. Every American has a critical role to play.e whether you want to draw on your skills or develop new ones. In short, you find the opportunity that’s right for you.

With RSVP, you’ll receive pre-service orientation, training from the organization where you serve, and supplemental insurance while on duty.

And remember: When you volunteer, you’re not just helping others—you’re helping yourself. Volunteering leads to new discoveries and new friends. Plus, studies show that volunteering helps you live longer and promotes a positive outlook on life.

So get involved, and join RSVP today!