Office of Emergency Management -
Citizen Corps Program


The Citizen Corps program was initiated nationally after September 11, 2001 by FEMA as a grassroots strategy to bring together government and community leaders to involve citizens in all-hazards emergency preparedness and resilience. The program encourages citizens to actively participate in their community in areas such as crime prevention, emergency response, preparedness and mitigation for all hazards – natural, technological or man-made, including acts of terror.

The goal of the Citizen Corps program is to create a national network of state and local Citizen Corps Councils and bring skilled volunteers to assist local government, where needed, in emergency management and secondarily support emergency services. A key vision of Citizen Corps is to tailor volunteer activities and opportunities to the community and to provide a unified approach to recruitment, retention, and public education and awareness.  Local Citizen Corps Councils, through their component programs, will offer training to citizens and volunteer opportunities for everyone, including those with special skills and interests.

The five programs under the Citizen Corps umbrella include:

  • Neighborhood Watch Program
  • Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  • Medical Reserve Corps
  • FireCorps

The New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission (DPC) functions as the State's Citizen Corps Council, which addresses the key State responsibilities under Citizen Corps and provides recommendations to the Commission as a whole. 

New York State's responsibilities in the Citizen Corps initiative include: 

  • Promoting Citizen Corps and preparedness initiatives at the State level
  • Establishing statewide partnerships
  • Conducting statewide public information and outreach campaigns
  • Managing and reporting on grants
  • Conducting Community Emergency Response Team - Train-the-Trainer courses


Nora Porter
NYS Citizen Corps Program Manager
NYS Emergency Management Office
Building 22, State Office Campus
Albany, NY 12240
(518) 292-2326

Go Back