Citizens Waiting for Services – Citizen Emergency Response Teams Are the Answer

CNN is reporting on the rising anger people feel as they wait for the Government and the Red Cross in Staten Island New York.  This situation highlights why communities must come together to come up with their own solutions.  The Federal Government is clear about their response times (3 days), while State and Local governments and organizations are better equipped to respond in the short-term.  Sandy devastated communities and it is unimaginable that people can wait for help with no power, no water and no food for three days.  Local governments and local initiative is the clear answer to the what people need.

All communities need to press the issue of citizen involvement.  Some communities like the one I live in do not have a fully functional Red Cross because citizens do not want to volunteer their time.  Each President tries to highlight the need for citizen involvement. Bush one (Thousand Points of Light) Clinton (Citizen Emergency Response Teams) George two (Faith Based initiatives) Obama (United We Serve). Clearly I am a fan of Community Emergency Response Teams because the needs are expansive and aggravated when disasters occur.

Communities need to learn from the volunteer fire fighter model and build up their emergency management capability.  The Federal Government has a role to play but local and State Governments need to be held accountable by their citizens to ensure their communities are resilient.


About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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