Jessica Yuzwa

Jessica Yuzwa
Program and Grant Manager
Franklin County Ohio Office of Homeland Security and Regional Communications

Jessica has been working with the Office of Homeland Security and Regional Communications in Franklin County, Ohio for several years. She oversees the State Homeland Security Grant Program Law Enforcement set aside and coordinates with a thirteen county region in central Ohio for resource needs, training, and special events. Jessica has been working in the field of Public Safety for close to 19 years. She is currently enrolled in an MS program at Saint Leo University and holds an MA in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University, a BS in Emergency Management from the University of Akron, and a Ba in Psychology from Miami University.

Presentation: Volunteers In Public Safety Support

In Franklin County Ohio, USA, we have a program titled Volunteers in Public Safety Support (VIPSS). We recruit citizens in the community to engage in a program to learn and train to support communities, first responders, and large events planned and unplanned. The volunteers spend over forty hours during their initial phase of training and continue to have training opportunities monthly after they have graduated the initial program.

The core curriculum includes disaster preparedness, terrorism prevention and awareness, CBRNE indicators, first aid, CPR, public health, children in congregate, private sector partnerships, interoperable communications, fire safety, light search and rescue operations as well as other topics.
Volunteers are required 16 and older, a Central Ohio resident with reliable transportation, and must complete National Incident Command online courses 100b, 200b, and 700a. All volunteers will have completion of a satisfactory background check.

These volunteers are a great example of using human assets to offset the use of other types of responders during any type of event. The VIPSS personnel are part of our preparedness, response, and recovery planning and exercises. Whatever the situation, the region is able to request the use of volunteers and know they have vetted, trained, and motivated citizens to assist. This availability relieves agencies of extra expenses in overtime as well as burn out of their own paid staff.