Wednesday, July 01, 2015

How did #PrepareAthon go?

America’s PrepareAthon! Events Recap

Thank you for making the spring 2015 America’s PrepareAthon! and the April 30 National PrepareAthon! Day such a success. More than 7.5 million people have been participating in PrepareAthon! events so far this year. We appreciate your efforts in creating a more resilient nation. Here’s a recap of some of the exciting activities from across the country.
Several communities practiced preparing for tornadoes. Spartanburg County, South Carolina held its first America’s PrepareAthon! event which included a countywide tornado drill involving several schools, businesses, and two hospitals. According to local officials, nearly 60,000 people participated in the drill. At the same time, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division conducted the South Carolina Statewide Tornado Drill. Local media coverage included stories on WSPA-TV (CBS)WFXG-TV (Fox) and in the Spartanburg Herald Journal
Schools in Louisa County, Virginia held their second America’s PrepareAthon! event where more than 6,000 students participated in preparedness activities, including a statewide tornado drill and sheltering-in-place. 
Students at Jouett Elementary School learned about tornadoes and safety procedures. During mini-assemblies, students in kindergarten through fifth grade learned how to identify the early warning signs of a tornado and made emergency kits and communications plans to share with their families. Louisa County plans to continue its participation in America’s PrepareAthon! during National Preparedness Month in September and theGreat Shakeout Earthquake Drill in October!
Other communities prepared for earthquakes. Nearly one million residents in Utah participated in the Utah ShakeOut Earthquake Drill. Held each spring, the Utah ShakeOut helps residents practice how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” in response to an earthquake. The event also included preparedness fairs  across the state in support of America’s PrepareAthon!
During the America’s PrepareAthon! event in Los Angeles County, California, participants experienced simulated earthquakes in a shake trailer and watched an earthquake preparedness video. Also, the American Red cross hosted a puppet show and talked to children about the Pillowcase Project, a disaster preparedness education program that teaches students in grades 3 – 5 about personal and family preparedness. Students received a sturdy pillowcase after completing the program, and they were encouraged to store their personal emergency supplies kit in the pillowcase. In addition, FEMA and the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management held an interactive preparedness quiz and distributed emergency preparedness brochures. 
On National PrepareAthon! Day, many families, business, and organizations shared their activities on Twitter using #PrepareAthon. Take a look at ourcollection of photos to see their preparedness in action.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are you ready for the Sales Tax Holiday?

State sales tax holidays are the perfect opportunity to ensure your disaster supply kit is up-to-date or purchase other items which may help you during a disaster. With hurricane season approaching, there is no better time to stock up on preparedness supplies.
Taking advantage of state sales tax holidays is just one more incentive to stock up on bottled water, extra batteries, and items for your disaster supply kit. Many states also offer sales-tax-free school supplies – backpacks can make helpful “go bags” during an emergency or disaster. Upcoming sales tax holidays for other states include:
  • Texas – May 23-25 and August 7-9
  • Virginia – May 25-31 and August 7-9
  • Louisiana – May 30 – 31
  • Georgia – July 31-August 1 and October 2-4
  • Alabama – August 7-9
Don’t miss out! Use this opportunity to save a few extra dollars and make sure you and your home are prepared! View the full list of 2015 state sales tax holidays today! Don’t see your state on the list? Check with your local Citizen Corps Council to see if your state, county, city, or town is sponsoring an upcoming sales tax holiday. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Are you Open for Business?

Disaster Preparedness Exercises For Your Business

Every business should have a disaster preparedness program and conduct exercises to determine how quickly operations will be restored following a disaster. Conducting program exercises help improve the overall strength of a disaster plan and the ability of employees to perform their roles and responsibilities.
The Ready campaign outlines several types of exercises that can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your disaster preparedness program, including:
  • Walkthroughs, workshops, or orientation seminars – Basic training for team members are designed to familiarize employees with emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications plans, and their roles and responsibilities as defined in the plans;
  • Tabletop exercises – Discussion-based sessions where employees review their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation;
  • Full-scale exercises – Take place on location using the specific equipment and personnel that would be called upon during a real disaster event. These exercises are conducted by public agencies and often include participation from local businesses; and
  • Functional exercises – Allow personnel to validate plans and readiness by performing their duties in a simulated operational environment. Activities for a functional exercise are scenario-driven, such as the failure of a critical business function or for a specific hazard.

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