With help from our office at the Department of Homeland security, more than 200 faith-based and 700 community organizations signed up as coalition partners to help support this September’s National Preparedness Month (NPM). This brought the NPM Coalition membership to a record number of 4,700 partners.
The DHS Center supported grassroots efforts to increase awareness on emergency preparedness among persons and organizations of diverse faiths, cultures and backgrounds across the country. Here are some examples:
• Millicent Williams, Director of DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA), hosted a “Faith-Based Forum on Preparedness” with nearly 100 faith and community leaders in the DC metropolitan area. The forum focused on enhancing opportunities for faith-based and community organizations, DC HSEMA and FEMA, to strengthen partnerships and increase community resiliency in times of disaster.
• 100 faith-based and community organizations participated in a national call for recommendations from the local, state, tribal and federal Preparedness Task Force. Congress charged the task force to develop recommendations that improve the nation's approach to preparedness. Faith-based and community partners around the country were able to offer insight on the challenges and barriers they face in community preparedness and recommended courses of action to address these challenges.
• The Pima County Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives partnered with the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Community Alliance Addressing Disparities for the annual “Preparedness Sunday” event. More than 20 faith-based organizations encouraged their respective congregations and communities to develop an emergency evacuation plan for their families. These events demonstrate the tremendous efforts undertaken by faith-based and community groups throughout National Preparedness Month.
National Preparedness Month annually serves as an excellent reminder that we all have the responsibility to protect ourselves, our families and our communities in times of disaster. For more information to help get you, your family and community prepared, call 1-800-BE-READY, TTY 1-800-462-7585 or visit www.ready.gov, www.listo.gov or www.citizencorps.gov.
David Myers is the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives at the Department of Homeland Security.