By Diane Ako
HONOLULU (KHNL) - Are you ready for a disaster? The state wants help you get prepared. That's why it's joining the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's effort for the fourth annual National Preparedness Month this September, in which Americans are encouraged to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. This year's effort has a growing coalition of more than 1700 national, regional, state, and local organizations pledging support.
"We're still in hurricane season and then in a month we'll start the wet season in Hawaii. It's a good time to call attention to being prepared for any disaster, whether for hurricane, tsunami, or manmade hazard," says State Civil Defense Vice Director Ed Teixeira.
"It is vital that Americans take steps to prepare for emergencies at home, work or school," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Personal preparedness is paramount to effectively reacting to the effects of a disaster. By preparing yourself, your family, and your businesses, you allow first responders to prioritize efforts and aid."
For the first time, the month will focus on different areas of emergency preparedness.
September 1-8; Back-to-School (Ready Kids)
September 9-15; Business preparedness (Ready Business)
September 16-22; Multicultural preparedness (Listo)
September 23-30; Home and family preparedness, including pets, older Americans and individuals with disabilities and special needs (Ready America)
Homeland Security Committee members, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, and Reps. Bennie Thompson and Peter King, have agreed to serve as honorary Congressional co-chairs of National Preparedness Month 2007 and lead the effort to increase public awareness on the importance of emergency preparedness on Capitol Hill.
The Ready campaign and the department's Citizen Corps program work closely together to promote activities across the nation that will encourage individuals to have an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different threats that may affect them, as well as take steps to get trained and engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.
National Preparedness Month coalition members have agreed to distribute emergency preparedness information and sponsor activities across the country that will promote emergency preparedness. Membership is open to all public and private sector organizations. Groups can register to become National Preparedness Month coalition members by visiting www.ready.gov and clicking on the National Preparedness Month banner.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that more than 1,700 national, regional, state, and local organizations will support the department by participating in National Preparedness Month 2007. This campaign occurs annually in September, and encourages Americans to prepare for all types of emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. DHS promotes individual emergency preparedness through the Ready Campaign and the department's Citizen Corps Program throughout the year.
"Too many individuals remain in a state of denial when it comes to personal preparedness," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "Able-bodied Americans need to be prepared to take care of themselves and their families after an emergency, so that first responders can focus on those who need assistance most. With the help of our coalition members, we encourage Americans to get an emergency supply kit, make a family communications plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that may affect them."