What We Do

Executive Director’s Message

Thanks to the efforts of the over 500 partners of BRACE, great progress has been made toward the vision of making our community the most disaster resilient in America.  Since the founding of BRACE in 2006 following Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis we have proven that partnership is the key to accomplishing together what no individual or organization could alone.    

Together as partners we have assisted thousands of survivors of hurricanes, floods and tornadoes through the often difficult path to recovery by restoring hope and homes.  We have reached over 100,000 individuals with emergency preparedness, training and education that will provide benefit to our community for at least a generation.     

As a community based disaster coalition of partners, our collective impact on resilience of our community have been recognized more frequently by FEMA through the Individual & Community Preparedness Awards Program than any similar organization.  The efforts of the partners of BRACE have been recognized with FEMA’s top award for “Promising Partnerships” and the John D. Solomon Preparedness Award, the highest presented through the program. 

If you are already a partner in the work of BRACE, thank you for making a difference in the disaster resilience of our community.  If you aren’t yet a partner, we invite you to join us as we make our community the most disaster resilient in America. 

Greg Strader, Executive Director
  

Personal Responsibility & Self-Sufficiency

Lack of emergency preparedness has caused loss of life, injury, economic loss and untold human suffering from disasters that have impacted Northwest Florida.
 
  • 40% of businesses that close following a disaster never reopen and 25% of those that reopen permanently close within 2 years.
  •  44% of the public indicate they have not done more to prepare for disasters because they don’t know what to do.

 
BRACE has:
  • Localized the Public Readiness Index Survey to provide a best practice tool to enhance disaster readiness.
  •  Engaged partners to conduct training in developing a family disaster plan and assembling a disaster supply kit.

Disaster Response - Homebound
Homebound may include, but are not limited to, people who:
57,000 homebound and disabled persons were underserved following Hurricane Ivan with hundreds calling the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in search of food, water and medical care. To address the needs of these unique populations, BRACE has:

  • Assembled a committee with 44 current participants dedicated to aiding the homebound 
  • Assembled 37 partner organizations that currently serve the disabled and homebound to coordinate this initiative 
  • Established a portal into a HIPPA-compliant database that identifies the location and needs of individuals unable to care for themselves during an emergency 
  • Developed and enacted plans to locate and register disabled and homebound individuals throughout Escambia County for this program 
  • Secured commitments of food, water and other emergency-related resources for the disabled and homebound during times of disaster 
  • Established the "Get-a-Kit/Give-a-Kit" Program that encourages community members to purchase extra disaster supplies to donate to the homebound as they purchase supplies for themselves.  
  • BRACE offers assurance to the homebound of our community by providing them with an emergency supply kit, and ensuring that they are not forgotten when a disaster strikes our area. 
- Are limited by one or more disabilities
- Need transportation to evacuate
- Do not speak English as a first language
- Are dependent upon electricity
- Are oxygen-dependent
- Are insulin-dependent

- Need assistance with daily living skills
- Are dependent upon a feeding tube
- Are under regular care of nursing staff
- Are dependent upon a service animal

If you or someone you know is homebound, please print and complete the registration form at the link below or call BRACE at (850) 444-7135 to have a form mailed to you. 

Homebound Registration Form 
homebound registration form.pdf

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has developed a series of videos that provide preparedness information for persons with disabilities. 


http://www.floridadisaster.org/disability/Video/index.htm

The largest resources of disaster recovery assistance in Escambia County are the faith-based organizations functioning within it. From the smallest to the largest, each works toward the betterment of our community throughout the year.  
 
The BRACE faith-based initiative is focused on reducing duplication of services by maintaining a database that is updated annually.  The database will be used when our community is involved in a disaster event in which the County EOC – Emergency Operation Center is activated. The information included in the database is current contact information for the organization, a list of what services they may have available to the general public, and on what time frame after an event they would be able to provide that aid.  Some of our registered organizations offer space for a distribution site, some can provide childcare and shelter services, some may have a kitchen to serve meals to victims, and others provide teams for debris clean-up and homebound registry support. 
 
When a call comes to us that someone or several people in the community need aid we will sort our faith-based database by that service. The organizations who have reported offering that service will be called and asked to provide aid if they can. We will record who and where aid was given to reduce the likelihood of duplication of services
 
The BRACE initiative also supports interfaith partnership throughout Escambia County. Starting in 2010, led by the co-chairs of our faith-based committee, Hugh Hamilton and Stan Lollar, we will begin hosting cluster meetings of all faith-based organizations within the fire districts of our County. These meetings are intended to improve communication as well as enhance our ability to aid our individual neighborhoods effectively and efficiently in times of disaster. 
  
To find out if your church or other organization is participating in the BRACE initiative check our website under “Who We Are.” 
If you are not listed you may print a copy of the initiative registration form and fax to BRACE at 850-444-7117
At the conclusion of the 24 month FEMA housing mission following Hurricane Ivan, 215 families were just days away from becoming homeless. BRACE identified the situation and sought to aid those families. Thus, Mission Homeward Bound was developed. 
 
BRACE:
Notified over 200 partners of this unmet housing need
Partnered with
FEMA
Escambia County Board of County Commissioners
Neighborhood Enterprise Foundation, Inc.
City of Pensacola
Volunteer Florida Foundation
Catholic Charities
Spared 146 families from homelessness
Helped 81 families achieve home ownership, and
Provided over $1 Million in housing assistance to disaster survivors
Mission homeward bound was a success.
Disaster Recovery - Individual Assistance
 
Assistance to survivors of Hurricane Ivan was delayed by months due to lack of partners, funding, procedures, forms and collaboration.

 
BRACE has:
  • Engaged partners to succeed the Escambia Long Term Recovery Committee to ensure 100 lessons observed became 100 lessons learned that will apply to future disaster recovery
  • Developed disaster recovery plans for
  • Needs Assessment
  • Volunteers
  • Donated Resources & Warehousing
  • Case Management
  • Spiritual Care
  • Resource Allocation (Resource Coordinating Committee)

Disaster Recovery
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster 
http://www.nvoad.org

Heritage Oaks is operated by BRACE LLC, with oversight from BRACE.  The Mobile Home and RV Park provides mitigated, affordable workforce housing to individuals and families on the Westside of Escambia County.  

BRACE LLC assumed ownership of Heritage Oaks after the former owner and management deserted the community, leaving residents in a state of deprivation of water, sanitation and garbage services so severe that Escambia County Public Safety asked for the support of BRACE to address the emergency faced by the resident families.
We all have a role in hometown security and disaster preparedness. It is for that reason that Escambia County Emergency Management has designated BRACE as the Citizen Corps Coordinator.

Citizen Corps asks you to embrace the personal responsibility 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. BRACE has been designated the Citizen Corps Coordinator by Escambia County Emergency Management. In that role BRACE will have a coordinative role for all of the Citizen Corps programs:Programs & Partners


After September 11, 2001, America witnessed a wellspring of selflessness and heroism. People in every corner of the country asked, "What can I do?" and "How can I help?" Citizen Corps was created to help all Americans answer these questions through public education and outreach, training, and volunteer service. 


Citizen Corps Councils helps drive local citizen participation by coordinating Citizen Corps programs, developing community action plans, assessing possible threats and identifying local resources. 


The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. Using their training, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event and can take a more active role in preparing their community. The program is administered by DHS.


The Fire Corps promotes the use of citizen advocates to enhance the capacity of resource-constrained fire and rescue departments at all levels: volunteer, combination, and career. Citizen advocates can assist local fire departments in a range of activities including fire safety outreach, youth programs, and administrative support. Fire Corps provides resources to assist fire and rescue departments in creating opportunities for citizen advocates and promotes citizen participation. Fire Corps is funded through DHS and is managed and implemented through a partnership between the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs.


USAonWatch (UOW)-Neighborhood Watch works to provide information, training and resources to citizens and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Neighborhood Watch programs have expanded beyond their traditional crime prevention role to help neighborhoods focus on disaster preparedness, emergency response and terrorism awareness. USAonWatch-Neighborhood Watch is administered by the National Sheriffs' Association in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.


The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program strengthens communities by helping medical, public health and other volunteers offer their expertise throughout the year as well as during local emergencies and other times of community need. MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response programs and also supplement existing community public health initiatives, such as outreach and prevention, immunization programs, blood drives, case management, care planning, and other efforts. The MRC program is administered by HHS.


Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) works to enhance the capacity of state and local law enforcement to utilize volunteers. VIPS serves as a gateway to resources and information for and about law enforcement volunteer programs. Funded by DOJ, VIPS is managed and implemented by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.


Securing our safety and freedom requires that we all work together. Every American has a critical role to play.
Be sure to check out our “NEWS” page for upcoming CERT Class information and local Citizen Corps events.