The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.
We live in a different world than we did before September 11, 2001. We are more aware of our vulnerabilities, more appreciative of our freedoms, and more understanding that we have a personal responsibility for the safety of our families, our neighbors, and our nation. But we also know that we can take action now to help protect our families, help reduce the impact an emergency has on our lives, and help deal with the chaos if an incident does occur.
We encourage you to review the many Citizen Preparedness Publications, including Are You Ready? A Guide For Citizen Preparedness, and information on creating a Family Disaster Plan and preparing a Family Disaster Supplies Kit to last for at least 3 days. Disaster Supply Kits should also be prepared for your car and workplace and should include:
- Clothes and bedding
- Drinkable water
- First aid supplies
- Non-perishable food (including pet food)
- Other emergency supplies like flashlights and batteries
- Other specialty items
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security has developed a website, Ready.gov, to help you prepare for the potential threats we now face as we enter this new era of potential warfare and terrorism here at home.
Ways to Stay Safe
We also encourage you to get involved in helping others be safer - when you help your neighbor, you help your nation. Share what you learn with others - and participate in Citizen Corps in your area. If you don't have a Citizen Corps Council in your area, contact your state Citizen Corps representative and work with your local officials to get one started.
Here are some other things you can do right now to be safer:
- Check and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old.
- Make sure you know where your local fire department, police station, and hospital are and post a list of emergency phone numbers posted near all the telephones in your home.
- Organize and practice a family fire drill - make sure your children know what your smoke detector sounds like and what to do if it goes off when they are sleeping.
- Locate the utility mains for your home and be sure you know how to turn them off manually: gas, electricity, and water.
- Create an emergency plan for your household, including your pets. Decide where your family will meet if a disaster does happen:
- Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home - ask an out of town friend to be your "family contact" to relay messages.
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire
- Prepare a 3-day disaster supply kit, complete with flashlights, batteries, blankets, and an emergency supply of water and food (and pet food!).
- Plan to hold a Neighborhood Watch meeting - your local Sheriffs' office or police station can help you get started or visit www.usaonwatch.org for more information.
- Check the expiration dates of all over-the-counter medications - discard all that is expired and replace any that are routinely needed.
- Make sure all cleaning products and dangerous objects are out of children's reach.
- Plan to sign up for a first aid training course. Call your local American Red Cross chapter, the National Safety Council, or American Safety and Health Institute to ask about courses in your area.
- Visit with your neighbors and discuss how you would handle a disaster in your area. Talk to neighbors with special needs and help them become safer too!
The Citizen Corps mission is accomplished through a national network of state, local, and tribal Citizen Corps Councils. These Councils build on community strengths to implement the Citizen Corps programs and will carry out a local strategy to have every American participate.