FEMA And American Radio Relay League Partner In Preparedness Through Citizen Corps

ARRL now is an official affiliate program of Citizen Corps, an initiative within the Department of Homeland Security to enhance public preparedness and safety.

On June 21, 2003, Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, announced an official affiliation between the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and President Bush's Citizen Corps initiative. At the ARRL National Conference, sponsored by "Ham-Com," celebrating its 25th anniversary in Arlington, Texas, an affiliate partnership was signed between ARRL and Citizen Corps. The signed partnership will raise public awareness about the use of Amateur Radio as a public safety resource, provide training and accreditation for Amateur Radio Emergency Communications, as well as assist Citizen Corps Councils with publi c education, training and
volunteer service opportunities that support first responders, disaster relief organizations, and community safety efforts.

"The affiliation between Citizen Corps and the American Radio Relay League will help raise public awareness about public safety through the use of Amateur Radio," Brown said. "I look forward to working with the American Radio Relay League to expand the role citizens play within their community to be more secure and better able to respond to
disasters of all kinds."

The agreement adds the ARRL as an affiliate to the four charter Citizen Corps programs: Neighborhood Watch, Volunteers in Police Service, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and Medical Reserve Corps. The ARRL joins the National Safety Council, Points of Light Foundation, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Fire Protection Association, Save A Life Foun dation, and The U.S. Junior Chamber as Citizen Corps affiliate programs.

Under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, Citizen Corps is a community-based initiative to engage all citizens in homeland security and community and family preparedness through public education and outreach, training opportunities, and volunteer programs. Programs under
the Citizen Corps umbrella include federally sponsored programs and other activities that share the goal of helping communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to all-hazards. Citizen Corps encourages all Americans to take an active role in building safer, stronger, and better-prepared communities.

The ARRL is a non-commercial membership association of radio amateurs organized for the promotion of interest in Amateur Radio communication and experimentation, for the establishment of networks to provide communi cations in the event of disasters or other emergencies, for the advancement of the public welfare, for the representation of the Radio
Amateur in legislative and regulatory matters. ARRL is the principal organization representing the interests of the more than 650,000 U.S. Radio Amateurs. Because of its organized emergency communications capability, ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) can be of valuable assistance in providing critical and essential communications
during emergencies and disasters when normal lines of communication are disrupted. ARRL conducts emergency communications training and certifies proficiency in emergency communications skills.

ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, signed a formal Statement of Affiliation between DHS and ARRL during the ARRL 2003 National Convention June 21 in Dallas, Texas.

Chief Operating Officer of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate (FEMA) Ron Castleman represented DHS at the signing. Citizen Corps Liaison to the White House Liz DiGregorio called ham radio operators the "first of the first responders."

"You are there. You are part of that very, very first response when it happens locally,"' especially in the initial stages of an emergency or disaster, DiGregorio told the overflow audience at the signing ceremony. She urged amateurs to explore ways to expand their role in the community beyond being the last resort when other communication systems fail. "You need to show your community that you're engaged," she said. "They need to know as a community that ARRL is there.''

Among other things, the affiliation statement calls on DHS and ARRL to raise public awareness of Amateur Radio as a safety resource. In addition, DHS and ARRL will cooperate in providing training and accreditation for Amateur Radio emergency communications and promote the formation of local Citizen Corps councils.

(Above information from ARRL Release No: HQ-03-138 and ARLB041, dated June 21, 2003)

Lewis County Emergency Communicators