RDPC’s Service to the Rural and Tribal Communities
RDPC’s mission focuses on positioning rural and tribal communities to prepare for, prevent, respond, and recover from disasters by building capacity and skills through training.
Since the beginning, RDPC has worked diligently to develop and deliver training to small, rural and tribal communities throughout the United States. While Americans tend to have an idealized image of rural America, a common definition for “rural” is difficult to find and is one of the most popular questions asked of RDPC.
Consistent with the guidance from the U.S. Census Bureau, RDPC defines rural communities it serves as “any location with a population of less than 50,000 and with a population density of less than 1,000 persons per square mile.” In addition to the U.S. Census Bureau, most Federal agencies use a population threshold of under 50,000 to define a “rural” area.
RDPC interprets the phrase, “any location,” as applying to tribes, cities, towns, villages, parishes, communities, and counties, which provides a flexibility that ensures areas are not excluded unduly. For example, a city or township within an urban county fits the “rural” definition.
RDPC Training Solutions
RDPC provides tuition free training solutions at no cost to class participants. The citizens of rural communities face unique challenges when preparing for all-hazards. For instance, limited population and tax bases can create difficulties for community public safety agencies in terms of staffing, equipment, and other resources. By offering no cost training, RDPC can provide rural first responders with training opportunities that may otherwise cause budgetary difficulties.
The RDPC Training Impact
In many cases, RDPC represents the only opportunity for emergency response practitioners to obtain access to timely, effective training. Therefore, understanding rural and tribal America and working to identify its specific needs are critical tasks for RDPC.
By speaking with rural responders and researching rural needs and capability gaps, RDPC recognizes that many rural response agencies are staffed by volunteers and backfill for training remains an issue. Yet, rural responders represent the surge capacity and increased capabilities the U.S. relies on to assist in large scale disasters.
A rural area is often the first line of defense to immediately contain an event or disaster before it escalates. It is imperative that rural responders receive the training and tools necessary to help keep the nation safe and prepared.