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Community Emergency Response Team Legislation with Senator Laphonza Butler's Office

  • 1.  Community Emergency Response Team Legislation with Senator Laphonza Butler's Office

    Posted 04-11-2024 09:52

    Hello Everyone,

    The Government Affairs Committee leadership met with staff from Senator Laphonza Butler's office a week or so ago to talk about some proposed legislation around Community Emergency Response Teams. This engagement was a direct result of our briefing in DC weeks ago where we met Legislative Aide Ricky Gonzalez.

    Ricky is now looking for some technical assistance on the language of their bill. I've attached the current language to this post and would welcome any ideas or feedback that we can pass along their office. Additionally, if you know of any other IAEM members who are heavily involved in CERT or community preparedness and can provide some expertise, let us know so we can get their feedback as well.

    Here's further context from Ricky:


    Hi Justin,

    Attached is a rough draft of the bill we are working on.  We would greatly appreciate any technical assistance / recommendations you may be able to provide, especially with regard to how we can ensure support for emergency managers in it.  You will notice that the text is rough and there are many brackets that have comments from legislative counsel.  As you know, these definitions also hold some weight so if you or your team have feedback on that, it would be appreciated too.  We are still very much in the crafting phase.

    Purpose:  To improve FEMA's engagement of local communities in disaster preparedness education and response, reduce the cost of disaster on State and local jurisdictions, and support our emergency managers.

    Bill Summary:  This bill would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to make volunteer hours eligible to offset the non-Federal cost share of disaster assistance, to establish the Community Emergency Response Team Grant Program within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and for other purposes.


    Here are the main points I am hoping to hit:

    • Reduce the cost of disaster on State and local jurisdictions
    • Support our nation's Emergency Managers and promote career pathways
    • Restore federal funding for Individual and Community preparedness Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
    • Bolster workplace, campus, and youth preparedness



    Ricky Gonzalez

    Legislative Aide

    Agriculture, Animal Welfare, Wildfire and Disaster Policy

    Office of Senator Laphonza Butler

    [202-224-3841] | www.butler.senate.gov

    Justin Kates
    Senior Business Continuity Advisor
    Wawa, Inc.
    Lewes DE
    (603) 722-0288


    ALL24301.pdf   61 KB 1 version
    ALL24301.docx   21 KB 1 version

  • 2.  RE: Community Emergency Response Team Legislation with Senator Laphonza Butler's Office

    Posted 04-12-2024 07:52

    Hi Justin,


    Four things I can think of, related to CERTs and additional Federal support, all of which add to the increased level of professionalism in many CERT programs across the country and their potential support as force-multipliers on large scale incidents:


    • Add federally sponsored liability protection on declared incidents, in the same way as health professionals are protected in their duties via the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act.
    • Bolster support (additional training modules created, a common system offered to SLTTs for input/data entry, etc.) for preliminary damage assessment work (PDA) by CERT members. I do not believe this is one of the standard modules in their training courseware today.
    • Bolster support and alignment with NGOs operating/co-managing mass care sites, including sheltering and fixed feeding; for planning, organizing, equipment, training, and exercising.
    • Incorporate CERT programs into the Federal Emergency Response Official (F/ERO) credentialling program and other elements of the NQS, per HSPD-5.


    Take care,




    Michael Prasad, MA, CEM®

    Executive Director

    The Center for Emergency Management Intelligence Research