SEATTLE, Wash. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that the Washington State Emergency Management Division (WA-EMD) is the winner of one of the 2011 Community Preparedness National Awards. These FEMA award winners were honored as White House Champions of Change at a White House ceremony.
The awards recognize innovative practices and achievements of communities and individuals across the nation that make our neighborhoods safer, stronger and better prepared to manage any emergency situation. One award was presented in each of thirteen categories.
WA-EMD received the award in the Innovative Training and Education Programs category for its Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program. This program prepares neighborhoods to survive emergencies and disaster situations, saving lives, reducing the severity of injuries and trauma, and reducing property damage.
Neighborhoods generally consist of 15-20 homes in urban areas or 5-7 homes in rural areas. MYN can also be implemented in condos and apartment complexes. MYN begins with a single individual inviting the neighborhood to his or her home for a 90-minute meeting, facilitated by the MYN program DVD. In 2010-2011, MYN-WA State obtained 55 new partners and was implemented in six new states and two new countries. MYN also won FEMA’s Challenge.gov Award this year.
“We are proud that the Washington State Emergency Management Division’s Map Your Neighborhood program has been recognized as such a valuable resource in preparing for disasters,” said Regional Administrator Ken Murphy of FEMA Region 10. “An informed, responsible and committed public can play a major role in safeguarding property and saving lives. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure that we are better prepared and more resilient in dealing with emergencies of all kinds.”
MYN is now active in thirty-four states in addition to Washington. MYN, designed to improve disaster readiness at the neighborhood level, teaches neighbors to rely on each other during the hours or days before fire, medical, police or utility responders may be able to reach them.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.