Over the past few months I have been laying out the five main areas of responsibility of the Department.
In July, I outlined our approach to our first priority – countering the threat of a terrorist attack. In August, I spoke about the new approach we’re taking to border security.
Today, in remarks at the American Red Cross, I’m speaking about another important mission: readiness and resilience.
Our nation may be better prepared than we were before 9/11. But there is much more we can – and should – do. And to get there, we must treat our nation’s preparedness as a shared responsibility, one where everyone has a role to play.
Civilians are usually the first to arrive in a crisis, and history shows that they are critical in those important first minutes. And these citizen responders can be an even more potent force by:
If a disaster struck your hometown, that training, those skills, and those plans would free up first responders and emergency personnel to focus on those most in need.
- Taking CPR training from the Red Cross
- Training with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- Knowing when to take shelter or evacuate
- Pre-planning evacuation routes and where to meet after a disaster strikes
So today, I’m calling on all Americans, across the country, to do two things.
First, take these basic steps:
Second, I’m asking all of us who are in book clubs, prayer groups, school boards, alumni associations, or other community organizations, simply to raise your hand and ask, “What’s our plan?”
- get an emergency kit;
- make a family reunification plan; and
- become informed about the types of emergencies your community is most likely to encounter.
Together, we can build a culture of readiness and resilience, and together we can build a more secure future.