The City of Rockford is announcing plans to organize a Citizen Corps to help coordinate volunteer activities and encourage local residents to serve their community.
The goal of the Citizen Corps, already imitated in many cities, is to help communities respond to emergencies by bringing together local leaders, citizen volunteers and the network of first responder organizations, such as fire and police departments and emergency medical personnel. Citizen Corps is designed to help make communities safer, stronger and better prepared to prevent and handle threats of terrorism, crime and disasters of all kinds.
One of the ways to help make Rockford a safer place to live is to have citizens who are better prepared to take care of themselves and others in a time of crisis, said Rockford Mayor Doug Scott. Rockford already has many strong volunteer organizations in place we can use to create a Citizen Corps.
As part of the plan to institute a Citizen Corps, the Rockford Fire Department will offer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to individuals interested in learning basic disaster response skills, such as fire suppression, search and rescue and medical operations. The 21-hour training course will be offered to 75-100 volunteers in the community. Those completing the CERT training could be called upon to take an active role in case of emergency.
The Citizen Corps is being organized through the Mayors Office with assistance from the Rockford Fire Department, the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross, and the Winnebago County Health Department. Funding for the program comes from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.