Army preparedness starts at the top
August 18, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 18, 2010) -- The U.S. Army is set to support National Preparedness Month in September as part of an ongoing initiative to ensure that Soldiers and Army civilians are ready to react if disaster strikes.
National Preparedness Month was started in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to encourage Americans to prepare themselves for possible emergencies, and the Army has been doing the same with its workforce for years.
"The Army is very interested in the security and safety of its Soldiers and civilians," said David Beltz, Director, HQDA Security and Safety. "The month is a good opportunity to remind everybody about preparedness and thinking about doing things ahead of a natural disaster or man-made incident."
This summer the Army began outfitting HQDA with Shelter-In-Place and Go-Kit bags. The kits contain equipment that would allow personnel to shelter in their offices for up to 72 hours.
"That includes food, water, blankets and other essential items," Beltz said.
The Army's "Ready Army" website, at www.ready.army.mil, can help Soldiers and their families ready themselves for emergencies. The site suggests critical items needed to create an emergency kit, for instance. It also takes readers through an emergency preparation planning process, and encourages people to be informed of potential hazards.
Last year, the Installation Management Command worked with state, local, private and volunteer agencies to increase public awareness of emergency preparation at a garrison level. This year is no different. The Army is exploring a partnership with the Office of the Surgeon General to provide personnel in the National Capitol Region with CPR and defibrillator training, for example.
"That's important because Soldiers need to be re-certified annually, and we also want to certify as many Army civilians as possible," Beltz said. "The person next to you could save your life or you might need to save theirs, so make sure you get CPR certified."
The steps taken to promote emergency preparedness are a result of our senior leaders who have provided financial support, manpower and critical resources, Beltz said.
Readiness is a significant part of the Army's mission, and emergency preparedness promulgates that aspect throughout the workforce. Individual preparedness also makes the Army more resilient if a disaster occurred, allowing the service to get back on course quickly.
"We have Army senior leadership, Soldiers and civilians providing vital support for troops overseas," Beltz said. "We have to be concerned about ourselves because no one can step in if we're not prepared."