Following the horrific events of September 11, 2001, state and local governments have increased opportunities for citizens to participate as an integral component of a first response. These officials agree that security and safety rely on preparedness, training and citizen involvement. In January 2002 President G. W. Bush launched the Citizens Corps, to capture this willingness to volunteer and serve. Citizen Corps promote grassroots emergency preparedness and volunteerism.
In 2003, a core group of local residents organized themselves into the North Castle Citizen’s Corp Council, (NC4), with the purpose to expand emergency response capabilities in the Town, and to work as an integral part of the Town’s Master Emergency Plan. In February 2004, NC4 received a $7500 “seed grant” from the New York State Emergency Management Office, to develop its operations.
NC4’s shelter operations are funded by the Town of North Castle, which also provides financial support for annual operating costs. The Armonk Lions Club gave a grant to NC4 which was used to purchase a trailer.
Many of the volunteers have received training from the Red Cross, as well as FEMA. NC4 volunteers have participated in practical exercises known as “tabletops” to gain proficiency in techniques and tactics. Some have taken a course in search and rescue techniques and/or obtained a FCC license to operate a radio in the event phone service is unavailable.