By Nancy Rasmussen, Fort Rucker Command Information OfficerNovember 5, 2008
FORT RUCKER, Ala.--"The truth will make you free."
The truth is, according to Council for Excellence in Government and the American Red Cross, most families are no more prepared for a natural or man-made disaster today than they were before Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city of New Orleans, or the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers Sept. 11, 2001.
While hurricane season runs from June through November each year, if history has taught us anything, it's that disaster knows no season.
The Homeland Security Department has designated September as National Preparedness Month, and in tandem, the Army has created "Ready Army," a program focused on educating and informing the Total Army Family by providing emergency preparedness tools throughout the month.
Although Ready Army formalizes an emergency preparedness program, the Fort Rucker command has proactively practiced similar principles for some time, according to Installation Operations Center (IOC) Officer Maj. Michael Hughes.
"Prior to this formalized campaign, Fort Rucker leaders have engaged in steps to improve awareness and educate personnel through briefings, hurricane preparation programming on Channel 6, the post e-mail system, Web page and AM 1640 radio. Picerne Military Housing has also been proactive by informing residents through its widely distributed newsletters," Hughes said.
As Fort Rucker's information hub for up-to-the-minute severe weather and other emergency information, the IOC continuously monitors local conditions and uses the post information distribution tools to update the community on area severe weather conditions and other pending disaster information.
"The Ready Army program simply provides additional tools to help our Soldiers and their Families become Army Strong in the face of unplanned emergencies," Hughes added.
Besides the IOC, the Fort Rucker command offers community members a variety of emergency preparedness resources at the Ready Army page on the post Internet Website at rucker.army.mil, The site posts up-to-the-minute weather information, educational games and exercises for kids, emergency preparedness tools, including local county emergency contact phone numbers and how to prepare emergency kits and family emergency plans. In addition, the page lists upcoming workshops and events that will enhance preparedness plan execution.
The garrison command has also provided Picerne Military Housing neighborhood offices with a variety of Ready Army emergency information brochures and kids' worksheets aimed at teaching and educating Family members about how to prepare for the unexpected.
To maximize program exposure and education opportunities, the command is using established programs and organizations to promote Ready Army principles.
Garrison Deputy Commander, George Steuber said, "Post chaplains, commissary, AAFES, Army Community Service, Department of Public Safety, Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers and others are teaming to dedicate resources in support of our community and execute the Ready Army campaign."
"Fort Rucker experienced the effects of a major disaster when a deadly tornado destroyed parts of our neighboring Enterprise community in March 2007, so we all know first-hand the need to prepare for the unexpected, regardless of the time of year. With that in mind, we will continue to keep emergency preparedness visible by continuing the Ready Army program on a permanent basis," Steuber said.
Be sure to complete your Family Emergency Kit and visit the Ready Army booth at events throughout the year. Those who complete their emergency plans and bring them to the booth will receive a Ready Army gift to complement their emergency kits.
To explore ways your unit or organization can help the Fort Rucker community become better prepared in the face of natural or man-made disaster through the Ready Army program, call the Public Affairs Office Command Information Officer at 255-1239. To download emergency preparedness information and tools, visit rucker.army.mil and click on the Ready Army link.