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Citizen preparedness

| 05.22.2008 | 11:41:146686 |
May 22 '08: In a piece run in the Washington Post, blogger and citizen responder John Solomon wrote that emergency preparedness and disaster response within communities is essential: "The more prepared a population is, the more effective the response to and recovery from a catastrophe will be." To underscore the importance of personal preparedness among our communities, former Under Secretary for Preparedness at DHS George Foresman echoed Solomon's piece on the Security Debrief Blog, "preparedness is not an exclusive responsibility of government agencies. ... Our elected leaders must provide their citizens with clear expectations ... [of] what is expected from them as citizens."
Solomon, who writes the blog In Case of Emergency, began his experience with emergency response and personal preparedness after the attacks on 9/11. Acting upon a question from his wife about "what should we be doing?" to prepare for worst-case scenarios, Solomon said that his "family's safety and the ability of my community and my nation to respond to major disasters might depend on my fellow citizens' preparedness."

"Public engagement is important not only in responding to emergencies, but also in helping prevent them in the first place," he continued. Solomon quoted a recent conversation he had with 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas H. Kean, "The weakest part of our homeland security is the citizen. ... Addressing that is very, very, very important."

Solomon has been active in the emergency response community for the last six years, and last November was selected to be the "Ready New Yorker of the Month" by the city's OEM. In his article for the WaPo, Solomon gave ten suggestions for helping to make a more prepared and engaged public: making preparedness in the public a priority; have preparedness be a part of America's 21st Century idea of a citizen; bring the preparedness ethic back into the national zeitgeist; inform the public and educate them; educate the children; create incentives for preparedness; using the private sector to help make preparedness a brand; engage in solutions for the 21st Century; engage everyone in a CERT drill; create a National Preparedness Day.

National Blueprint Tags: Communication & Public Information, Citizen & Community.