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November 14, 2008

Volunteers Needed for Community Emergency Response Teams




Dear Mayor:

Across the nation and here in New Jersey, our communities are giving top priority to the tasks of planning and preparing for potential threats from acts of terrorism.  In any emergency, whether resulting from a natural disaster, crime, or terrorist-related act, local government resources will be the first responders as well as the first line of defense.

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide emergency services will not be able to meet every demand placed on them.  Factors such as the number of victims, communication failures and roadblocks may prevent people from accessing the types of service they have come to expect at a moments notice through the 911 service.  People will have to rely on each other for help to meet their immediate needs until professional emergency responders can reach them.

In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush placed renewed emphasis on the Citizen Corps initiative, a component of the USA Freedom Corps, and asked that Americans volunteer their services to help safeguard our country, our communities, their families, and themselves.  Citizen Corps is managed at the state and local level by Citizen Corps Councils that are in various stages of development at this time.  As such, the New Jersey Citizen Corps Council has been established to coordinate the activities of the Citizen Corps Program in New Jersey with current emphasis on the creation of Local Citizen Corps Councils and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

CERT is a program designed to produce organized teams that will be capable of assisting their communities in times of disaster.  Every county has assigned a member of their Office of Emergency Management as their CERT Coordinator.  At present, New Jersey has over 15,000 CERT volunteers, more than any other state in the country.

As proactive first responders and public servants, New Jersey Citizen Corps is respectfully requesting your municipalities support the enhancement of CERT membership and boost public awareness.  With that said, New Jersey Citizen Corps would like to take this opportunity to create an open call to CERT service.  If you, or anyone in your municipality is interested in becoming a CERT Team member, please contact the New Jersey Citizen Corps Council at: 609-963-6900 ext. 6995 for further information and or CERT training registration.

Thank you for your time regarding this matter.  Together, we can and will make a difference.

Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Hatfield
Deputy Superintendent
New Jersey State Police
Homeland Security Branch

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director


                                                                        Very truly yours,


                                                                        William G. Dressel, Jr.
                                 Executive Director




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