Staff takes 'readiness' to masses
September 26, 2008
By Andy Knell
The Ready Army program launched at Fort McPherson Sept. 19 with a personal touch. With meet-and-greets at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) headquarters and presentations at the Community Wellness Center's Holistic Health and Wellness Fair and as part of children's activities for the pre-kindergarten class at the Child Development Center, members of the U.S. Army Garrison's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) "took the program to the people."
Ready Army's goal is to heighten awareness, encourage preparedness and stress the three-prong recommendation to "get a plan, make a kit and be informed."
"We are responsible for the readiness of our Soldiers, Civilians and their Families," Col. Deborah B. Grays, U.S. Army Garrison commander, said. "When disaster strikes, we want them to be able to say, 'We were prepared.' Ready Army provides us with the tools we need to make it through the storm."
Lorenza James, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear explosive operations specialist for DPTMS, manned the rear entrance to FORSCOM, distributing flyers and emergency checklists and explaining the essential elements of a home emergency kit.
In addition, displays were set up Monday and Tuesday at the Lawrence Joel Army Health Clinic, One-Stop Processing Center and Child Youth & School Services center.
"Teaching Ready Army to children is important so that children are aware of what to do in the event of a weather emergency," said Barbara Howard, director of the Child Development Center. The pre-kindergarten class learned why it is important to have an emergency kit and planned escape routes for their homes in the event of a fire or natural disaster. The children drew maps of their homes with evacuation routes and practiced the stop, drop and roll technique.
"It is important to reinforce these life-saving practices with children," said Howard.
"It's everyone's responsibility to prepare themselves and their families for a disaster that could leave them stranded at home with little or no assistance for several days," said Doc Scheffler, DPTMS director. "Everyone needs to have an emergency kit stocked with enough supplies to last at least three days. Additionally, you should have a family plan. Everyone should know what to do, where to go and how to contact each other when disaster strikes."
For more information, visit www.ready.gov. Materials, such as fact sheets, shopping lists and local resources, are available to read and download. Children can learn how to "get a plan, make a kit and be informed" and can earn a certificate from "Readiness U" after completing a short test.
Over the past week, you may have heard the sirens being tested on Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem and seen the Ready Army displays and signs. Have you asked yourself what you or your family will do in the event of a disaster' Now is the time to act by building a kit and making a plan.