2012-10-19 / In the Know

FEMA salutes town’s resilience program

By B. Michael Thurlow Special contributor

Earlier this year I submitted a series of articles about Scarborough’s communitywide resilience and preparedness program. The steering committee met recently to assess our progress to date, and develop strategies to move the program forward in the future.

We were pleased that Melissa Savilonis, a FEMA technical hazards specialist from the Northeast Region I office in Boston, attended our meeting and presented Scarborough with a certificate of achievement for leading this innovative and effective community-wide project.

The recognition was in response to our success in two national award programs. We received honorable mentions against national competition in both FEMA’s Citizen Corps Community Preparedness Award Program and the International Association of Emergency Managers Community Preparedness Award programs.

In the cover letter that accompanied this recognition, Russ Webster, the federal preparedness coordinator for FEMA Region I, wrote, “This certificate is being presented to the Town of Scarborough, recognizing your hard work and effort with leading an innovative and effective community-wide resiliency project that is not only a first for Maine, but also the Nation.”

He went on to say that, “Scarborough’s goal of having citizens and visitors trained and prepared to respond and assist each other at the grassroots neighborhood level during our next disaster is to be highlighted as a best practice throughout our country. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to increasing resiliency in your community.”

Certainly the national recognition is appreciated, but more importantly it helps to validate the work that we have been doing over these past two years. We have made a great start, but there is a long way to go. We have recently applied for another small grant to help us expand the program with financial support to create more information, tools, and publications and to conduct additional public outreach. We also hope to partner with more of our businesses and nonprofits to leverage their expertise and reach out to their employees and associates that live in work in our community.

If you are a member of a neighborhood association, civic group, faith-based organization, business or nonprofit and are interested in learning more about our community-wide resiliency initiative we would be happy to speak with you and your group.

Nancy Crowell, director of the Scarborough Public Library, is our primary point of contact. She can be reached at nec@scarborough.lib.me.us or 883-4723, ext. 6266.

Crowell and her staff maintain our website, which contains a wealth of information and resources. For more information, visit www.scarboroughlibrary.org./resiliency/index.html.

You are also always welcome to contact me anytime at mthurl@ci.scarborough. me.us or 730-4201.

B. Michael Thurlow is fire chief for Scarborough.

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