FEMA Recognizes Arlington Christian Disaster Network for Second Year in a Row
By Office of Communication
Posted on October 18, 2016, October 18, 2016

Federal Emergency Management

For the second year in a row, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has recognized the efforts of the Arlington Christian Disaster Network to make our community safer, better prepared and more resilient in the face of disaster.

The Arlington Christian Disaster Network, a group of 16 local faith-based organizations that are trained to provide a variety of volunteer disaster relief, was awarded honorable mention by FEMA in the categories of "Community Preparedness Champions" and "Preparing the Whole Community."

During a special ceremony Monday at Seventh Day Adventist Church, FEMA Regional Administrator Tony Robinson presented network leadership and the Arlington Fire Department with the award.

"The Arlington Christian Disaster Network is a genuine and trusted resource for their citizens and first responders," said Randall Meshell, Federal Preparedness Coordinator/Director for FEMA Region 6.

"They are to be lauded for not only what they have done in their own community, but also for their willingness to deploy to other communities and states to ease burdens caused by the nations disasters."

The City of Arlington Fire Department's Office of Emergency Management has a formal memorandum of agreement with the Arlington Christian Disaster Network to manage spontaneous volunteers and assist with sheltering needs during disasters.

The catalyst behind the network's creation stemmed from a 2012 tornado in Arlington that damaged more than 500 Arlington homes and businesses. Local faith-based organizations played an integral role in providing relief efforts.

Using the partnerships forged from the incident, Arlington Office of Emergency Management and community leaders gathered during the after-action review and established the disaster network; a collaborative effort among local faith-based organizations to provide organized and trained volunteers ready to meet the emergency and disaster needs of the community.

For members to join network, they are first required to complete the Community Emergency Response Team Basic Training. This ensures network members receive standard training and provided clear structure and organization between the Arlington faith-based organizations and the City of Arlington.

The need to have a systematic and organized approach to register and incorporate volunteers into disaster response and recovery was apparent during the 2012 tornado. Two Arlington Christian Disaster Network facilities have been designated as the Volunteer Reception Center locations, and the network has exercised and cross-trained volunteers for the various staffing positions.

Because a deluge of unaffiliated and affiliated volunteers will arrive whether or not the impacted jurisdiction formally request assistance, the network's management of the City's Volunteer Reception Center will undoubtedly pay dividends when the next disaster occurs.

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