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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Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA).

Keep your holiday trees well-watered.  Dry and neglected trees can easily catch fire from a short in electrical lights or lit candles, lighters and matches.

Before your tree burns your house down, be fire smart with these USFA tips:

  • Place the tree away from heat sources and exits.
  • Use only non-flammable decorations.
  • Inspect lights for frayed wires or other defects before use.
  • Don't leave lights unattended and turn off holiday lights at night. Keep natural tree stands filled with water at all times and don't let your holiday tree dry out .
  • If the tree becomes dry, discard it.

Find extra holiday, Christmas tree and fire safety information, videos, and graphics on the U.S. Fire Administration Holiday Safety page.


Holiday and Travel Safety Toolkit

Help your community prepare for the holidays with the Holiday and Travel Safety Social Media Toolkit . Find holiday safety and preparedness information and graphics you can either copy and paste directly, or customize them to reach your audience.

The main tips for holiday and travel safety include:

  • Stay off the road during and after a winter storm.
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials or consider using flameless candles instead.
  • Keep an eye on food when cooking.
  • Put a winter supply kit in your car.
  • Shop securely online over the holidays.

For more tips, hashtags, promotional content, Twitter and Facebook messages, visit the Holiday and Travel Safety Toolkit


Avoid the “Invisible Killer”

Breathe easy this winter and avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

CO is called the “Invisible Killer” because it's a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), more than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental nonfire-related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces.

Protect your family from CO poisoning with these USFA tips:

  • Install and maintain CO alarms in a central location outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of your home to provide early warning of CO.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, and vents.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

Learn the symptoms of CO poisoning and other CO safety information on the USFA Carbon Monoxide Safety page.


Join Us for a #WinterSafety Twitter Chat

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts La Nina-type conditions this winter. Join us for a #WinterSafety Twitter Chat to discuss winter storm terms, winter driving tips, winter supplies for your emergency kit, and how to heat your home safely. 

#WinterSafety Twitter Chat

Date: December 15

Time: 2 PM Eastern Time

Hashtag: #WinterSafety

We hope that you will be able to join us on December 15!


Webinar: Successful Social Media Practices to Strengthen Your CERT Program

On Wednesday, December 14, FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division invites you to a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) webinar featuring programs that have found innovative ways of using social media to promote their preparedness efforts and respond during a disaster. Speakers will also share their experience on how they were able to grow their overall social media presence. 

Title: Successful Social Media Practices to Strengthen Your CERT Program

Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Time:  3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EDT

Featured Speakers:

  • Christina Nguyen , Community Relations Coordinator, Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management
  • Mary Jo Flynn , Emergency Operations Coordinator,  Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services

How to Join the Webinar:

We hope to that you will be able to join us on December 14!


Webinar: Methods of Communication in Disasters— Preparing to Receive, Provide and Act on Critical Information in Times of Crisis

The Department of Homeland Security's Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships and FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division invite you to a webinar on Thursday, December 15, 2016. Representatives from FEMA will be joined by faith and community leaders to highlight various methods that governments and communities can use to communicate with one another and the broader community in disasters. This webinar will also feature preparedness activities and resources to effectively receive, provide and act upon critical information.

Title: Methods of Communication in Disasters—Preparing to Receive, Provide and Act on Critical Information in Times of Crisis

Date: Thursday, December 15, 2016

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT

Featured Speakers:                                 

  • Antwane Johnson, Director, FEMA Integrated Public Alert & Warning System
  • Martin Pittinger, FEMA Office of the Chief Technology Officer
  • Kaylyn Beck, FEMA Office of External Affairs
  • Chaplain Yisrael Bursztyn, New Jersey Chaplains Association
  • Alicia Hamilton, Preparation & Awareness for Community Resilience in Emergencies & Disasters (PAC RED) and The Revelation Network
  • William Patterson, Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club

Moderator: Jannah Scott, DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships

How to Join the Webinar:

We hope that you will be able to join us on December 15! 


Dates for Your Calendar


Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting:

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.

Follow FEMA online at,,, and Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.