Preparedness Campaign Urges Families, Businesses to ‘Drill’

by michellerogers on September 22, 2009

Today I came across the preparedness campaign and felt compelled to post the information as a result of my preparedness blog yesterday.  Help make our seniors as safe as possible!

The Safe America Foundation has announced a preparedness campaign, the “9/11 Drill Down for Safety,” to encourage American families to conduct communication drills this September as a first step in an annual practice rehearsing what they would do during a natural disaster or other form of emergency.

“Safe America believes that individuals are the ‘missing link’ in preparedness; through this program, we will annually involve millions – teaching them that in an emergency, they are their own first responder,” said Safe America President Len Pagano.

The foundation is working with wireless carriers on focusing on non-voice communications, especially texting. Pagano noted that in emergencies where digital communications may go down, text messages may still get through or be held in the queue for delivery (once service is normalized). He noted that having parents learn how to text is a valuable safety tool. And, he noted Safe America will offer texting lessons from a newly-created web site.

The recent “Pledge to Drill”/pre-9/11 media blitz also focused on other social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, which can help keep family and friends in touch if voice networks are knocked off line.

“Much as been written about how to stockpile food and water during a crisis, but we want Americans to think about how they’d communicate if phone lines were down or networks go offline,” said Former Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, the program’s honorary chairman. “How they’d get in touch with loved ones is a critical issue, as we learned during Katrina. We want families to plan now how they will communicate, and have the tools like texting – or newer ones like Twitter and Facebook – loaded into their phones and mobile devices, ready to use in an emergency.”

The project also will focus on the importance of educating children on how to communicate in adverse situations. As part of 9/11 Drill Down for Safety, parents will be urged to have their children pre-load emergency URLs and messages into their mobile devices, as well as set up text messaging templates that can speed up communications and provide immediate access during an emergency.

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