WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the winners of the 2011 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. These annual awards recognize the innovative practices and achievements of organizations and individuals across the nation that work to make our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to manage any emergency situation.
The awards, previously known as the Citizen Corps Achievement Awards, recognize accomplishments that took place during the award period of January 1, 2010 through June 1, 2011.
Leadership from National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and FEMA selected this year’s winners from applicants among 36 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The award submissions reflected the “whole of community” approach to emergency management, with submissions from faith-based, tribal, non-profit, private sector, and community-based organizations, as well as individuals.
“We are proud of these communities, organizations, and individuals and their remarkable accomplishments,” said Paulette Aniskoff, FEMA’s Director for Individual and Community Preparedness. “I’m honored to recognize those who are empowering the public to take action in making their communities safer and better prepared to respond to disaster. FEMA is just one part of the team, and we couldn’t build our nation’s preparedness without the innovation and creativity put forth by organizations and individuals, such as this year’s winners.”
Winning applications demonstrated significant innovation and creativity in preparing their communities. For example, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians developed a “Send Word Now” system which provides SMS text, email and voice alerts to tribal members during emergencies. Several of this year’s winners also distinguished themselves by involving the whole community in emergency preparedness. For instance, the New York City Citizen Corps program collaborates with more than 60 community organizations, government agencies, private sector organizations, and volunteer programs.
Others were exemplary in their ability to train and educate community members. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago trained more than 55,000 youth and their families in over 20 low-income neighborhoods. And the Earthquake Country Alliance conducts the successful Great California ShakeOut, an annual statewide earthquake drill that involves millions of participants – a concept that has been replicated in other states and countries.
The following are this year’s award winners, selected in thirteen categories:
- Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives: Arkansas State Citizen Corps (AR)
- Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives: New York City Citizen Corps (NY)
- Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Initiatives: NBC Universal CERT (CA)
- Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness: American Red Cross of Greater Chicago (IL)
- Preparing the Whole Community: San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians (CA)
- Promising Partnerships: Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies (BRACE) (FL)
- Engagement with Faith-Based Communities: David L. Maack (WI)
- Innovative Training and Education Programs: Washington State Emergency Management Division (WA)
- Outstanding Drill, Exercise, or Event: The Great Central United States ShakeOut (TN)
- Awareness to Action: Earthquake Country Alliance (CA)
- Innovative Use of Technology: Citizen Corps of St. Clair County (MI)
- Outstanding Achievement in Public Health: Cobb County Public Health Preparedness and Response (GA)
- Community Preparedness Heroes: Brenda Gormley (TX), Tod Pritchard (WI), Carolyn Bluhm (CO)
- First Annual Recipient of the John D. Solomon Preparedness Award: John D. Solomon, Creator of In Case of Emergency, Read Blog (NY)
Award winners will receive their awards and be honored guests at a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington, D.C. This event will also offer them the opportunity to share their experiences, ideas, and solutions on community preparedness with other award winners, Citizen Corps program managers, and selected officials. One winner will also be selected to attend the 2011 International Association of Emergency Managers Conference in Las Vegas, NV, and to participate as a guest on FEMA’s panel on community preparedness.
A complete list of this year’s winners, including descriptions and those applicants that received honorable mentions in each category, is available at: http://www.citizencorps.gov/councils/awards/2011/awards2011.shtm.
For information about the application process, visit FEMA’s blog post announcing the call for applications.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.