Charleston has been dubbed Illinois’ first ‘Ready to Respond Community’
Illinois’ Ready to Respond voluntary preparedness project, established in April 2013, has named Charleston as the state’s first local jurisdiction to officially earn the initiative’s “Ready to Respond Community” distinction, Charleston city officials recently revealed.
Now, three years since its inception, the movement has gained momentum with its “whole community” outlook and outreach involving a wide range of stakeholders -- from elected figures and government entities to volunteer groups, private companies and residents. Until now, only institutions of higher learning had earned the title.
“The risks, threats and vulnerabilities facing communities in Illinois are constantly changing,” Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) Director James Joseph said. “It’s critical that communities continually work as a collective group to enhance and expand their preparedness efforts. The Ready to Respond Community Program provides structure and guidance to help communities tackle these challenging issues. The end result is a city with enhanced ability to respond and recovery from disasters and residents who are bettered prepared at home.”
Five Prairie State colleges and universities have already earned the ranking to date. Charleston’s status will be a three-year designation that is renewable at the end of that time period.
“The City of Charleston has always taken great pride in its emergency preparedness, so it was only natural for us to pursue the Ready to Respond Community designation,” Scott Smith, Charleston’s city manager, said. “[It] shows our dedication to protecting the citizens and community we serve. We’re proud to be the first community in Illinois with this designation.”