FEMA Region V Highlights National Preparedness Month

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

September is National Preparedness Month, as well as the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and FEMA Region V has initiated a month-long campaign to highlight the importance of preparedness.

"Preparedness is a shared responsibility," said Andrew Velasquez III, regional administrator of FEMA's office in Chicago. "The whole community - individuals, businesses, community organizations, faith-based groups, and state, local and tribal governments - should focus this month on preparing for all types of emergencies and disasters."

This year's National Preparedness Month campaign theme, "A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare," seeks to transform awareness into action by encouraging all Americans to take the necessary steps to ensure that their homes, workplaces and communities are prepared for disasters and emergencies.  FEMA's Chicago office has developed a series of videos to encourage preparedness.  These videos can be viewed at FEMA Media Library: Kicking Off National Preparedness Month.

National Preparedness Month is supported by a coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations that help spread the preparedness message.  This year's record number of coalition members, approximately 6,000, are sharing preparedness information with their members, customers, employees and communities.

"By hosting events, promoting volunteer programs and sharing emergency preparedness information, coalition members can help ensure that their communities are prepared for emergencies," said Velasquez. To become an NPM Coalition Member and find readiness events that may be taking place near you, visit: http://community.fema.gov.

While National Preparedness Month is held each September, FEMA's Ready Campaign promotes individual emergency preparedness at home, in the workplace, and throughout America's communities throughout the year. The Ready campaign is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies year round, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Preparing can start with three important steps:

1. Get an emergency supply kit

2. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency

3. Be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency

"Because disasters may disrupt essential services, everyone is reminded to take the steps necessary to be self-sufficient for three days," Velasquez said.  "Taking action now to prepare for emergencies and disasters will increase your chances of surviving and recovering from a disaster."

State emergency management agencies throughout Region V are participating in National Preparedness Month in a variety of ways including:

Illinois Emergency Management Agency

Launching Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020, a statewide effort to engage residents and organizations in development of the state's strategy for dealing with current and emerging threats and risks and response to disasters

Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Conducting an online survey about preparedness, with participants who complete the survey entered into a drawing for a free emergency kit

Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division

Holding a 9/11 Remembrance and Candlelight Vigil September 11 at State Capitol

Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management

If You See Something Say Something advertisements throughout the Twin Cities metro area

Ohio Emergency Management Agency

10th anniversary commemoration at the State House

Wisconsin Emergency Management

Promoting preparedness through a statewide public service campaign

A full calendar of events can be found online at community.fema.gov.

The Ready Campaign's websites (ready.gov and listo.gov) and toll-free numbers (1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO) provide free emergency preparedness information and resources available in English and Spanish. Additionally, through FEMA's partnership with the Ad Council, public service announcements are available to increase the American public's involvement in preparedness.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.