County Executive Falk Announces $53,000 for Citizen Emergency Training
March 24, 2006
Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced $53,000 to create a citizen corps of volunteers to help during a disaster or emergency, a medical reserve corps that will identify volunteers with advanced training ahead of time to be used during emergencies, a K-9 dog disaster training program, and other programs that will train volunteers in lifesaving, preparedness, and search and rescue skills.
“These funds will help us save lives. Better training for our citizens means a faster, more efficient response during an emergency,” said Falk.
"Too often, we have seen that professional resources are not adequate to deal with a major emergency. Trained citizens could provide the extra help needed," said Dane County Sheriff Gary Hamblin.
Dane County Emergency Management applied for the grant in December, 2005, and earlier this month, Falk heard first-hand about the County Executive in Houston, Texas, who utilized the Citizen Corps program to help with Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in the AstroDome. He cited the program as a huge success story, and talked about the volunteers providing both help, and also setting a positive example for other evacuees to help each other during the crisis.
The Department of Homeland Security grant was awarded to Dane County Emergency Management, who will work with the State of Wisconsin and City of Madison’s emergency personnel to coordinate planning. The grant covers six specific actions:
· Dane County Citizen Corps Council: A council comprised of hospitals, human services agencies, law enforcement, emergency management, non profit groups, elected officials and citizens will provide guidance and direction to build a volunteer network that promotes volunteerism in disasters.
· Medical Reserve Corps: Identifies volunteers with specific medical training (doctors, nurses and other health care volunteers). This corps will be developed in coordination with Milwaukee County and the City of Madison.
· Volunteers in Police Service Program: Both the Dane County Sheriff’s Office (DSCO) and the City of Madison Police Department (MPD), who will train volunteers in law enforcement functions as part of the Dane County Citizen Corp program. Upon completion of training, the volunteer is prepared to assist MPD and DSCO with activities such as large-scale events including search and rescue and fingerprinting and child ID at crime prevention events.
· K-9: Form a FEMA certified K-9 team for Dane County to assist in an emergency. Currently, the closest FEMA K-9 teams are in Missouri and Indiana, severely limiting their capacity to help in the critical hours immediately following an emergency.
· Community Emergency Response Team Training: The American Red Cross will take the lead in training community volunteers with lifesaving skills and preparedness training courses.
A resolution accepting the funding was introduced to the County Board on Thursday, March 23 and now awaits Board approval and signature by the County Executive.
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Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606