Senators Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Honorary Senate Co-Chairs of National Preparedness Month, expressed their support today for this annual effort by the Department of Homeland Security to encourage Americans to work to boost preparedness for emergencies and national disasters.
Launched in 2004, National Preparedness Month is dedicated to promoting awareness of steps all Americans can take toward emergency preparedness and to encourage action to prepare homes, businesses and schools across the nation. This year, National Preparedness Month is specifically focused on helping families better equip themselves in the face of disaster situations.
“The challenge we face in responding effectively to emergencies is not just about levees, hurricanes, or the Gulf Coast. It is about plans and protections. No one knows where the next great disaster will occur, or what form it will take. We know only that some disasters will entail mass casualties, horrific destruction, disruption of communications and emergency-response systems, and a pressing need for rapid assistance with evacuation, search-and-rescue, sheltering, law-enforcement, medical care, and other efforts,” said Senator Collins. “We must improve preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities at all levels of government, so that the next disaster on the scale of Katrina will leave a much less tragic legacy. America is better prepared than a year ago, but we still have a great deal of work to do.”
“Hurricane Katrina vividly reminded all Americans that our country is simply not prepared to respond to a catastrophic disaster which overwhelms state and local resources – and that lives are unnecessarily lost as a result,” Lieberman said. However, as we work to reinvent FEMA and improve the federal government’s capabilities to respond effectively, we must also spread the message that every family that can must also do what it can to get prepared,” Lieberman said. “National Preparedness Month is a welcome opportunity to inform Americans of what they can do personally for their families, friends, and communities to prepare for potential disasters. At best, the efforts of individuals during National Preparedness Month should bolster the work we are doing here in Washington to reform our federal emergency response system so that lives can be saved and suffering reduced following the next disaster.”
Further information on National Preparedness Month, with links to resources for disaster preparedness can be found here.