In 2003, the City of Williamsburg responded to both a federal and state initiative, known as "Citizen Corp". As part of a local adaptation of this initiative, neighborhood volunteers were recruited, in partnership with the city, to develop a coordinated neighborhood response system. The headings below describe this initiative on the federal, state, and local levels.
CITIZEN CORPS is a federal initiative under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which brings together all levels of government and local volunteers to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and any other manmade or natural disasters. This incorporates programs such as CERT Training, Medical Reserve Corps, Volunteers in Police Service, and Neighborhood Watch.
COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM [CERT]
This is a nationally recognized training with a certificate that involves hands-on training for disaster preparedness, fire safety, First Aid/CPR/AED, disaster medical operations, light search & rescue, terrorism and other topics. Participants will also have the opportunity to network with other trained volunteers in their neighborhoods in preparation for a natural or man-made disaster.
Training takes place in the Williamsburg Fire Station classroom, unless otherwise noted, and runs every Tuesday and Thursday evening. The last session 1 involves a local disaster exercise in which participants will be involved.
For more information and/or to register, please call 220-6198.
VIRGINIA CORPS is The Commonwealth's adaptation of the CITIZEN CORPS Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
NEIGHBORHOOD RESPONSE TEAMS [NRTs] is a partnership between the City and its neighborhoods to prepare for any manmade or natural disasters. There are 6 goals for the NRTs:
- Divide the City into 8 sectors with approx. 7-8
neighborhoods within each sector. Each sector is headed by
a sector captain and co-captain who are the primary contacts.
(See NRT Contact Information for street listings and sector captain
and co-captain information.)
- Work with neighborhood associations and existing groups such
as Neighborhood Watch to organize the neighborhood in
the event of an man-made or natural disaster and to create
neighborhood sustainability and self-sufficiency for as long as
possible (at least 72 hours – 3 days after a disaster strikes).
- Identify neighborhood residents with knowledge, skills, and
abilities that could be used in a disaster, and develop
the capacity to call upon and utilize such individuals.
- Identify material resources and supplies within each neighborhood such as generators, 4-wheel drive vehicles, chain saws, equipment, etc.
- Identify elderly, disabled, or at-risk individuals who will require assistance in each neighborhood and develop a plan to assist and care for such individuals until help arrives.
- Develop a communication system and phone tree between the Emergency Command and Control and sectors, as well as within each sector and neighborhood.