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2005 Media Releases

January 27, 2005
For More Information Contact:
David Norris, Citizen Information Center, 441-7547
Margo McKendree, Volunteer Partners, 435-2100
Doug Ahlberg, County Emergency Management, 441-7441

Volunteer Citizen Corps Council Created to Help With Emergencies

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced the formation of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Citizen Corps Council, which will recruit volunteers to help their community prepare for and respond to emergencies. The Citizen Corps Council activities will be funded by a Homeland Security grant administered through Lancaster County Emergency Management and operated by Volunteer Partners.

“Volunteers are a critical part of any emergency or disaster relief effort,” said Mayor Seng. “The goal of the Citizen Corps Council is to give all citizens an opportunity to participate in making their communities safer, stronger and better prepared for all kinds of emergencies.”

“We saw the importance of volunteers in the past year with their work in the Hallam and Lancaster County relief effort,” said Doug Ahlberg, Lancaster County Emergency Management Director. “The Citizen Corps Council will enhance their organization, efficiency and productivity, enabling an already outstanding volunteer base to become even better.”

“The Council is a wonderful opportunity for Volunteer Partners and the participating agencies to engage community volunteers, our greatest asset, in activities and educational opportunities that will help individuals and the community be better prepared should disaster strike,” said Margo McKendree, Emergency Volunteer Project Coordinator for Volunteer Partners. “Citizen interest and involvement in volunteerism will not only strengthen our agencies, but also our city and county.”

The Citizen Corps Council has five components:

  • Emergency Volunteer Centers (EVCs) are pre-designated sites that would be activated to safely and efficiently utilize volunteers during emergency or disaster situations. Volunteers will be trained to operate EVCs. An example was the volunteer-operated EVC in Princeton following the Hallam tornado.
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training prepares volunteers to take care of their neighbors, co-workers and others during emergency situations. CERTs are trained in the areas of fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster preparedness, and pre- and post-storm operations. CERT volunteer recruitment efforts will target teachers, businesses, service clubs, nursing home staffs, neighborhood associations and other organizations.
  • Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) would enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to use volunteers. VIPS can provide training for volunteers to perform administrative and non-intervention policing activities to free up law enforcement professionals for front-line duty.
  • Neighborhood and Business Watch Programs are cooperative programs involving citizens and law enforcement. In Neighborhood Watch, citizens report suspicious activity and crime to the police. The Business Watch program would establish a formal network for businesses to communicate with each other and the police regarding crime-related problems, crime prevention and security-related issues.
  • Student Disaster Education provides students with information on emergencies and disasters that can affect the community. The American Red Cross has a curriculum for use by schools in Lancaster County.

Members of the Citizen Corps Council include local elected officials; neighborhood representatives; the Lancaster County Red Cross; the Salvation Army of Lincoln; the Lincoln Public Schools; the Lincoln Police Department; the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office; Lancaster County Emergency Management; the Lancaster County Medical Society; the Mutual Aid Firefighters Association for Lancaster County; and Volunteer Partners.

Those wanting more information or a presentation on the Citizen Corps Council can contact Volunteer Partners at 435-2100.

Mayor's Office    Media Releases