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Local Government

North Aurora looking at forming new volunteer force

NORTH AURORA – The village is exploring whether to have residents help emergency officials in a disaster.

“After a disaster, there are more people who need help than there are people to help,” said North Aurora Deputy Police Chief Scott Buziecki, who is pushing the idea of the village forming a Citizen Corps program. “We’re trying to find a way to have more people to help in an emergency.”

Buziecki also is the village’s emergency management coordinator. The idea was discussed Monday at the North Aurora Village Board’s public safety committee meeting.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a volunteer program called Citizen Corps, founded in 2002 to enhance the nation’s emergency preparedness. The program is locally managed by a Citizen Corps Council, which includes community leaders.

Citizen Corps Council members participate in such activities as developing community emergency plans and offering training, Buziecki said. He said the Citizen Corps Council also could help to recruit general volunteers for community events, such as North Aurora Days and the North Aurora Community Parade.

The Citizen Corps Council is an umbrella organization, under which the village can institute existing volunteer programs such as the Community Emergency Response Team or Volunteers In Police Service.

Several communities in the area, including Elburn, Aurora, Gilberts, Naperville and Huntley, have CERT programs. Buziecki said some duties that CERT members could perform include directing traffic at crash sites and helping with North Aurora Days.

Buziecki said the VIPS program would allow the police department to improve its service to residents without increasing its staff. For example, he said volunteers could help with clerical work and help officers with neighborhood outreach.

He has recommended that the village form a Citizens Corps Council and begin implementing a CERT program, and possibly a VIPS program.

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