(Harris County, TX) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized the Harris County Citizen Corps’ deaf and hard of hearing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program with an Honorable Mention, in the 2013 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards, for its dedication to making our communities safer, stronger and better prepared for any disaster or emergency.
“This CERT program is empowering the deaf and hard of hearing community that wants to learn about disaster preparedness,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Our whole-community approach builds better prepared communities throughout Harris County.”
Harris County Citizen Corps, in partnership with Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and the Houston Center for Independent Living are collaborating to provide training for the deaf and hard of hearing. Deaf CERT training began in 2009; in September 2012, Harris County Citizen Corps introduced the first CERT Basic Training Course lead by a deaf instructor.
“The deaf and hard of hearing community faces unique challenges; learning how to protect themselves and their families during an emergency should not be one of them,” added Emmett. “We will continue to offer training opportunities to all the residents of Harris County.”
The 2013 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards honor the innovative practices and achievement of individuals, Citizen Corps Councils, and non-profit, faith-based and private sector organizations around the country. FEMA received close to 200 entries from 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Harris County Citizen Corps Program membership includes 17,606 trained volunteers involved in 248 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), 21,537 volunteers from 24 Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) agencies, 3,291 volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), 5,515 volunteers from the 336 neighborhoods participating in the USA on Watch program and 24 Fire Corps agencies.
Past Harris County Citizen Corps awards include the 2012 Jack Colley Leadership Award for exemplary leadership and service to communities in the State of Texas, Honorable Mention in the 2010 National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards–Celebrating Resilient Communities, the 2009 National Citizen Corps Council Achievement Award for Volunteer Integration, the 2007 President’s Call to Service Award, the 2006 Governor’s Volunteer Award for Community Capacity Builder and the 2003 Best Practices for Innovation Award from the Texas Association of Counties.