AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety announced today that organizations in Texas received three of this year’s seven Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.
The annual awards, which are announced in conjunction with National Preparedness Month in September, recognize the innovative practices and achievements of individuals, Citizen Corps Councils, and nonprofit, faith-based, and private sector organizations working throughout the nation to make our communities safer, stronger and better prepared to manage any disaster or emergency event.
“I am extremely proud of these organizations and the individuals in Texas who have been recognized nationally by FEMA for their creative initiatives to keep their communities prepared,” said Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. “Thanks to the selfless dedication of the various volunteer groups across Texas, they are making Texas a safer place to live.”
“We applaud our Texas partners for the great work they are doing when it comes to preparedness,” said FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Robinson. “These awards more than demonstrate the commitment that the Lone Star State has to ensuring its citizens are ready for any emergency.”
The seven award categories include Outstanding State Citizen Corps Council Initiatives; Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives; Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Initiatives; Outstanding Achievements in Youth Preparedness; Preparing the Whole Community; Awareness to Action; and Community Preparedness Heroes.
The Texas awardees include:
The City of Austin for Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Initiatives.After an Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management survey revealed that residents were not well prepared for natural or man-made disasters, Austin’s Community Emergency Response Team (Austin CERT) greatly enhanced its program. Austin CERT developed six new partnerships to help prepare Austin to respond to local incidents, and fill gaps that left the community vulnerable in times of emergency. Elements of the program’s success include the Austin CERT Water Utility Partnership, the Austin Fire Department Partnership, Austin's Teen CERT Partnership, the Disaster Ready Austin Preparedness Partnership, and the Austin CERT Podcast.
The Heart of Texas Citizen Corps Council for Outstanding Local Citizen Corps Council Initiatives. No fewer than 10 Citizen Corps teams that are organized under the Heart of Texas Citizen Corps Council responded to the April 17, 2013, fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, which killed 14 people including 12 first responders. The Heart of Texas Citizen Corps Council is organized and overseen by the Homeland Security Division of the Heart of Texas Council of Governments; and local CERT teams in the area contributed over 120 hours of volunteer service and made a significant impact in assisting those in need.
The Texas School Safety Center for Outstanding Achievements in Youth Preparedness. The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) developed a statewide approach to emphasize youth preparedness and educate the whole community in disaster preparedness, which included a statewide youth summer camp. The camp focuses on emergency response training, community-specific action planning and leadership development, and prepares youth teams to lead preparedness efforts in their local communities and schools. In June 2012, TxSSC funded 30 participants from across the state to attend the five-day camp at Schreiner University in Kerrville.
In addition, the following Texan and organization received honorable mentions for their programs:
Stephanie Parker for Community Preparedness Heroes
Texas School Safety Center forAwareness to Action
Harris County CERT for Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team