Georgetown’s Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2012 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards for its “Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Initiative” Oct. 9.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website, “[The Individual and Community Preparedness Awards] recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, Citizen Corps Councils and programs working to make our communities safer, stronger and better prepared for any disaster or emergency event.”
The Campus Community Emergency Response Team was started at Georgetown in July 2010 to provide emergency assistance to professional first responders in case of a disaster. Students and faculty trained by C-CERT are added to a special Hoya Alert list-serve if their services are needed in an emergency.
“We believe that Georgetown’s C-CERT Team and the Building and Floor Marshals deserve this award because of their consistent dedication and professionalism,” Department of Emergency Management and Operational ContinuityDirector WhitChaiyabhatwrote in an email. “Both groups are comprised entirely of individual volunteers, which speaks highly to the Jesuit values and culture of cura personalis and caring for others embraced at Georgetown.”
FEMA’s National Office of Citizen Corps praised the Georgetown department’s commitment to safety and preparedness.
“Thank you so much for promoting and sharing with us the amazing work that you do to help prepare your communities for disaster,” the National Office of Citizen Corps wrote in an email sent to announce the award on Oct. 12.
The award is listed on the Citizen Corps website, and Georgetown will receive a certificate from FEMA in recognition of its accomplishments.
“We believe our model for CERT at Georgetown has provided the region with a successful and cost-effective strategy for achieving community engagement on the topic of shared disaster preparedness,”Chaiyabhat wrote. “Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility, at the core of community engagement and leadership, which aligns very well with the history and tradition at Georgetown University.”
Since the Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuityfounding in the fall of 2007, the department has worked to make Georgetown more resilient in the face of disasters through training and educating the community, according to Chaiyabhat
“We think we have created an effective marriage of ‘programs’ and ‘community culture’ at Georgetown and are not surprised that Georgetown’s C-CERT is being recognized by our federal emergency management leaders for its various successes and endeavors,” he wrote.
Georgetown was the only college or university to be recognized by FEMA for the Individual and Community Preparedness Awards this year.
Georgetown’s C-CERT has expanded this past year and began training 40 new members Thursday.
“I think [FEMA] saw that we took on a strong role in our area based on our growing teams and our growing participation,” member David Lizza (COL ’15) said. “I’m proud to be part of Georgetown’s C-CERT that received the award from FEMA. It’s important for our campus, especially because we’re in D.C., to be prepared for any emergency.”

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