This Citizen Corps News Digest is provided by FEMA's Individual & Community Preparedness Division to highlight community preparedness and resilience resources and activities recently announced by federal agencies and Citizen Corps partners.

DHS -FEMA Updates

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Make a Fire Escape Plan

More than 15,925 people were injured by fire in the United States in 2013, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have as little as two minutes to safely escape once the alarm sounds.

Planning can help protect you, your family, and your home when seconds count. Here are a few steps to help  keep your family fire safe :

  • Check that all smoke alarms are working properly;
  • Make a map of your home and mark all windows and doors through which you may escape;
  • Choose a meeting place outside the home where firefighters can see you and your family;
  • Write the emergency telephone number for your fire department on your escape plan;
  • Practice your fire escape drill; and
  • Keep your fire escape plan in a common area where everyone can see it, i.e. refrigerator.

For more information about protecting your family and developing a fire escape plan, check out the home fire escape materials from the U.S. Fire Administration.


Portable Fireplaces: Tips for Staying Cozy and Safe

Portable fuel-burning fireplaces have become a popular way for people to heat their homes during winter months. However, if not used properly, these devices can be dangerous and pose a serious fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. Learn how to “ Put a Freeze on Winter Fires .” Before you snuggle up to a portable fireplace, keep these NFPA safety tips in mind :

  • Make sure the fireplace has an Underwriters' Laboratory (UL) listing. This ensures the product has been tested for safety;
  • Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions closely; 
  • Keep the area where you're using the fireplace well ventilated;
  • Do not use the fireplace in sleeping areas; and
  • Light the fireplace using a utility lighter or long match.

As with all heating equipment, space is important! Create a “safe zone” around the device by keeping children, pets, and anything that can burn at least three feet away.

To find out more information and protection tips on portable fireplaces , go to the NFPA website. 


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Monday, January 18, 2016, is the  Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service .  Join Americans nationwide who will answer the call to service by assisting their communities in large and small ways.

One of those ways can be ensuring that your loved ones and neighbors are ready for natural disasters, power outages, or other emergencies. You can build an  emergency kit  for a neighbor or check that the  fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors  are properly working in a friend's home.

You can also find opportunities to serve through your local CERT and Citizen Corps Councils .

The MLK Day of Service is part of the United We Serve initiative – the President's national call to service. For more information, visit the  Corporation for National Community Service website .


Webinar: Preparing Youth for Disasters

The Individual and Community Preparedness Division is pleased to invite you to a webinar on Thursday, February 4, 2016, focused on engaging the public on disaster preparedness and resilience efforts serving youth.

Title: Preparing Youth for Disasters
Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016
Time: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EST

Featured Speakers :

  • Bruce Lockwood, Acting Captain, Emergency Management Division, East Hartford Fire Department, CT; Former Commissioner, National Commission on Children and Disasters , will share the background on the unique needs of children in a disaster and the importance of preparedness planning and education.
  • Sarah Thompson, Save the Children , will share information on Save the Children's Prep Rally, which helps children learn the basics of emergency preparedness through engaging activities and games and can be formatted to fit your program.
  • Hilary Palotay, American Red Cross , will share information on the Pillowcase Project, a preparedness education program for children in grades 3–5.
  • Captain Rob Tosatto, Medical Reserve Corps & Jane Shovlin, AZHOSA , will share information on the partnership between Medical Reserve Corps and HOSA and how to engage youth in contributing to school and community preparedness.

How to Join the Webinar :

We hope that you will be able to join us on February 4! 


Dates for Your Calendar!


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About FEMA

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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