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September is National Preparedness Month

September 8, 2006 -- National Preparedness Month is a nationwide coordinated effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools. The U.S. Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) is sponsoring National Preparedness Month 2006, which
will focus on family emergency preparedness.

The goal of National Preparedness Month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks and to encourage individuals to take action to prepare themselves and their families. National Preparedness Month promotes activities across the nation to encourage individuals to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, become informed about different threats, and get involved in preparing their communities for possible emergencies.

A few examples of the types of activities and events that DHS and the National preparedness Month 2006 coalition members are sponsoring this fall to engage Americans and increase our nation's overall level of preparedness are as follows:

1. DHS, AARP, the American Red Cross, National Organization on Disability and National Fire Protection Association will release and distribute new emergency information for older Americans and individuals with disabilities and special needs.

2. Wal-Mart is promoting personal and family emergency preparedness to its 1.4 million employees through multiple internal communication mediums and employee
events. The company is also encouraging the 127 million customers that shop at their stores each week to prepare by featuring Ready Campaign public service advertisements and distributing preparedness information in its 3,800 stores across America.

3. DHS, the Advertising Council and Radio Disney are promoting emergency preparedness to families in 33 cities through Radio Disney's "Feelin' Groovy" tour. The tour of 63 malls across the country features interactive events designed to bring health and safety messages to children and families.

4. Throughout the year, DHS promotes individual emergency preparedness through
the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps as part of a broader national effort conducted by the department's Preparedness Directorate. Ready is a national public service advertising campaign produced by The Advertising Council that is designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. The campaign's Web site (www.ready.gov) and toll free number (1-800-BE-READY) provides Americans with free preparedness information. Citizen Corps, DHS' grassroots effort, localizes preparedness messages and provides opportunities for citizens to get emergency response training; participate in community exercises; and volunteer to support local first responders. Two thousand Citizen Corps Councils are at work across the nation
making their communities safer, stronger and better prepared.

5. Throughout the country, several cities are doing their part in becoming prepared for emergencies.

  • Oklahoma City held several Elementary school assemblies to teach children about the weather and how to recognize and gather items that belong in an emergency kit.
  • Los Angeles will host a series of fairs in parks and malls across the area to teach preparedness for emergencies.
  • Louisville, Lexington, Somerset, Fort Mitchell, Bowling Green and Mayfield, Kentucky will host a series of summits for small and medium size businesses to become informed and prepared.

6. CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team) is a voluntary program. CERT was developed and first implemented by the City of Los Angeles. CERT Training is designed to prepare you to help yourself, your family and your community in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Following a disaster, individuals might be on their own for a period of time before the area affected can be reached and this is where CERT training can be helpful. In Harris County, CERT Training is provided to neighborhoods that are interested or that might be located in a high-risk area. The Houston Police Department assists with the training and encourages the community to be an active participant in voluntary programs such as this one.

For more information you can visit www.harriscountycitizencorps.com

JGA/GO 9-8-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division a 713-308-3200.