WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, September 24th, the White House will honor local heroes who are “Champions of Change for Community Preparedness and Resilience.” The event will celebrate Americans who are preparing communities for disasters and helping them respond and recover, bringing members of the whole community together – private businesses, local government, community and faith-based organizations, and individual citizens – to make a difference.
Colleen Adler is the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for West Pierce Fire & Rescue which serves the cities of Lakewood and University Place in Washington State. Colleen has a 21-year career with the fire service, the last five being focused on developing and supporting the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program for the citizens of the district. Her focus is to engage the various citizen groups in a collaborative effort to prepare for and respond to emergencies. Colleen is also Vice President of the Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County. Under her leadership West Pierce Fire & Rescue now has over 400 trained CERT members who are ready to assist the community should the need arise.
In 2012, the cost of weather disasters alone exceeded $110 billion in the United States. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of events like storms, floods, heat waves and wildfires. In June the President released hisClimate Action Plan which steps up our efforts to prepare the Nation for these impacts so we can better protect homes, businesses, and ways of life from severe weather. Also recognizing the need to increase the participation of individual citizens, businesses, and organizations, President Obama directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to launch a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness among Americans of all backgrounds and ages, moving them from awareness to action. The Champions have been leaders in this initiative.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.
The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 1:30 pm ET on September 24th. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.