Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Citizen Corps

The mission of Citizen Corps is to harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make their communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.
The Citizen Corps program asks you to embrace the personal responsibility required to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety. Everyone can do something to help make our families and our communities safer through:
Personal responsibility: Developing a household preparedness plan and disaster supplies kits, observing home health and safety practices, implementing disaster mitigation measures, and participating in crime prevention and reporting.
Training:  Taking classes in emergency preparedness, response capabilities, first aid, CPR, fire suppression, and search and rescue procedures.
Volunteer service:  Engaging individuals in volunteer activities that support first responders, disaster relief groups, and community safety organizations. Everyone can do something to support local law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, community public health efforts, and the four stages of emergency management: prevention, mitigation, response and recovery efforts.
For additional general information about the Citizen Corps and its 5 component programs, visit the National Citizen Corps website.

State Structure and Operations

The Citizen Corps program provides Americans with opportunities to serve their country helping their own cities and counties develop a “Whole Community” response to emergency planning, response and recovery.  The mission of the State Citizen Corps organization is to provide resources to local programs to assist them to build community resilience through the establishment of these community service programs.


Training requirements vary by program and  position.  Required training is usually provided or coordinated by local program managers.  Advanced training for CERT Trainers and Citizen Corps program managers is offered to qualified volunteers by MN Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) or from the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI).  Review the specific program fact sheet for more information or contact the local Citizen Corps council.

Citizen Corps Partner Programs








Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

CERT members are community volunteers trained in basic response skills by emergency personnel. CERT members are prepared to save lives, prevent the spread of disease, and help protect themselves, their families, and their community in the event of a disaster. Trained CERT members play an active role in helping to build emergency preparedness and response capabilities in their communities through:

  • Disaster preparedness
  • Fire suppression
  • Medical operations
  • Homeland Security

For more information about the CERT program, read the Community Emergency Response Team Fact Sheet or visit the national CERT website. 



Fire Corps

Local Fire Corps units are groups of citizen volunteers who devote their time to support and supplement their local fire departments in non-fire fighting activities.   This support allows local responders to better concentrate their efforts and resources on training and emergency response operations.  Fire Corps support functions can include:
  • Life Safety Education
  • Data Entry
  • Bookkeeping
  • Administrative Functions
  • Public Relations
  • Pre-Plan Research
  • Photographer
  • Historian
For more information read the Minnesota Fire Corps Fact Sheet or visit the Fire Corps website. 

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

Medical Reserve Corps programs are a resource of health volunteers who strengthen their communities by preparing for and responding to local public health emergencies.  MRC programs train people before disaster strikes and integrate them into existing emergency preparedness and response structures to provide support when the unthinkable happens.
The Medical Reserve Corps is made up of volunteers who have a variety of accredited medical or health care training, skills and experience or  mental health care experience or other non-medical skills who can provide support to local medical or response organizations during public health emergencies or disasters or during non-emergency events and activities. 
For more information, read the Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps Fact Sheet  or visit the national Medical Reserve Corps website, at the Medical Reserve Corps website.