Office of Governor Brad Henry
State of Oklahoma
State Capitol ? Oklahoma City OK 73105
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- 9/6/2006
Oklahomans Urged to Participate in National Preparedness Month
Oklahoma City ? Gov. Brad Henry has proclaimed September 2006 as Oklahoma National Preparedness Month, part of a nationwide effort held each September to spur Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools. The goal of the month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action.
?Oklahomans know all too well the destruction that can be caused by disasters, whether they are natural or manmade,? Gov. Henry said. ?There are simple steps that people and businesses can take to be more prepared in the event of an emergency. I applaud the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security, and its coalition partners for promoting preparedness efforts statewide.
National Preparedness Month is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiative (USDHS) that began in 2004 and is coordinated in Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS). This year, OKOHS is putting a particular focus on family emergency preparedness, reminding Oklahomans to make themselves and their loved ones better prepared.
?Homeland security begins at home and this September we are encouraging all Oklahomans to do three things: (1) Get a Kit, (2) Make a plan and (3) Be informed,? said Kerry Pettingill, Oklahoma Homeland Security Director. ?Disasters can happen at any time. They can be large, involving an entire community, or small, just impacting your family. In either situation, these three things can make life during and after a disaster that much easier for you and your family.?
Information on what to include in an emergency kit and how to make a family communications plan can be found on the OKOHS Web site at www.homelandsecurity.ok.gov.
OKOHS has spent months recruiting businesses, organizations, agencies and local communities to participate in National Preparedness Month as Oklahoma National Preparedness Month Coalition Partners. A key partner of OKOHS this year is the State Department of Education, which is supporting a new groundbreaking grant program offered to Oklahoma public elementary schools in conjunction with National Preparedness Month. Schools that choose to participate in the grant program will conduct an assessment of their facility, submit an enhancement plan and incorporate the materials provided by Ready Kids (www.ready.gov) into their classrooms beginning this month. Five elementary schools will be selected to receive $10,000, to purchase security equipment for their facility.
"Being prepared for any emergency is important for all of us, so we are pleased to help get the word out to students and teachers about the 'Ready Kids' lessons," State Superintendent Sandy Garrett said. "Plus, Oklahoma's nationally unique Emergency Preparedness Grants will help elementary school officials purchase equipment and resources to improve school safety and security. We thank the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security for their assistance in ensuring students and staff are safer and better prepared at school and at home."
Other Oklahoma Coalition Partners are supporting preparedness by hosting or sponsoring a variety of activities such as business continuity forums, conducting emergency drills, including preparedness information in their newsletters, and distributing preparedness information to employees, customers and/or stakeholders.
?Our Coalition Partners are critical in our effort to help educate and inform the public about the importance of individual and family preparedness planning,? said Pettingill. ?The more times people can hear the message of preparedness, and through a variety of sources, the more the message is likely to sink in and cause people to take action. We hope to reach as many Oklahomans as possible through our Coalition Partners.
Below are a few examples of the types of activities and events Oklahoma National Preparedness Month Coalition Partners are sponsoring throughout the month of September:
- On September 9, OKOHS will distribute preparedness information for kids, families, businesses and pets between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the annual Septemberfest event in Oklahoma City. OKOHS will be set up in the Oklahoma History Center parking lot at the Health and Safety Venue.
- Cox Communications is promoting preparedness throughout the month by airing public service announcements, including preparedness information in its VIP newsletter and posting the 30 preparedness tips on its Web site (www.coxoklahoma.com).
- The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) published 30 preparedness tips and is distributing the materials at its county offices and at the state office in Oklahoma City.
- Between September 14?24, OKOHS and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) are partnering for a better-prepared Oklahoma by having an information booth at the Oklahoma State Fair. MRC provides an organized opportunity for the medical and public health communities to use their skills and expertise during disasters. Oklahomans can learn more about volunteering with MRC and preparedness, in general, by visiting the Hall of Modern Living or www.mrcok.org.
- On September 20, Muskogee County is promoting preparedness at Arrowhead Mall (501 N. Main St., Muskogee) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The American Red Cross will be doing a blood drive, local law enforcement will be fingerprinting individuals and Muskogee County Emergency Management will be setting up a small decontamination tent that was purchased with OKOHS grant funding.
- The Tulsa Medical Response Center (MERC) is hosting an open house at its new, state-of-the-art facility in conjunction with National Preparedness Month. The MERC will be used for daily operations and will constantly monitor the status of Tulsa?s health care system including hospitals, EMS and Public Health events. The MERC is funded primarily by the Oklahoma State Department of Health?s CDC/HRSA Grant Program and has become a vital component of the Tulsa Metropolitan Medical Response System.
- The Oklahoma State Firefighters Association is supporting National Preparedness Month by including an article in their September 2006 issue of Oklahoma Firefighter, distributing preparedness information at the Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum and posting the 30 preparedness tips on its Web site (www.osfa.info).
- The City of Shawnee is sending out a citywide email to inform employees about what to do during an emergency and where to find additional information about being prepared for emergencies. The Shawnee Police Department is sending out two different brochures with payroll checks/stubs to all employees. In addition, both brochures will be included with two different periods of water bills to community members.
- On September 13, the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), in conjunction with OKOHS, will host a Business Continuity Forum. The Forum will include briefings on topics such as the terrorism threats Oklahoma businesses face and the tools and tactics needed to safeguard IT systems. This year?s keynote speaker is Michael Thompson, New Orleans Hornets Corporate Communications Director, who will discuss the hurdles involved in moving a multi-million dollar a year franchise to a new city in time for the season to start.
To date Oklahoma National Preparedness Month Coalition Partners include:
- Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG)
- Advance Food Company
- American Red Cross (McAlester)
- American Red Cross (Oklahoma City)
- American Red Cross (Tulsa)
- American Red Cross (West Central Oklahoma Chapter)
- Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG)
- Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma
- Broken Arrow Police Department
- Canadian County Health Department
- Chickasaw Nation
- Chickasha Fire Department
- Choctaw Nation
- City of Edmond
- City of Oklahoma City
- City of Yukon
- Clear Channel Radio ? Lawton
- Clear Channel Radio ? Oklahoma City
- Cox Communications
- Devon Energy
- Dollar Thrifty Auto Group
- Eastern Oklahoma Development District (EODD)
- Eastern Oklahoma State College
- Elgin Public Schools
- Enid Fire Department
- Fort Sill
- FOX 25
- Garvin Rural Volunteer Fire Department
- Grace Living Centers
- Greer County Emergency Management
- Langston University
- Logan Medical Center
- Mathis Brothers
- Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
- Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County
- Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)
- Midwest City Emergency Management
- Mounds High Schools
- Muskogee County
- Noble County Sheriff's Office
- Noble Foundation, Inc.
- Nordam Group
- Northern Oklahoma College
- Oasis Radio Network
- Office of Faith Based Initiatives
- Oklahoma Emergency Management Association
- Oklahoma 2-1-1
- Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police
- Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives
- Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils
- Oklahoma Chapter of the American Public Works Association
- Oklahoma City Community College
- Oklahoma City Public Schools
- Oklahoma City University
- Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Oklahoma Department of Labor
- Oklahoma Department of Public Safety
- Oklahoma Energy Resources Board
- Oklahoma Health Care Authority
- Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission
- Oklahoma Insurance Department
- Oklahoma Nurses Association
- Oklahoma State Department of Education
- Oklahoma State Fire Marshal
- Oklahoma State Firefighters Association
- Oklahoma State Health Department
- Oklahoma State Medical Association
- Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
- Oklahoma Tax Commission
- Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department
- Oklahoma Yard Dawgz
- OU Medical Center
- OU Police Department - Norman
- Pioneer Telephone
- Pontotoc County Emergency Management
- Sapulpa Fire Department
- Shawnee Police Department
- Southern Oklahoma Development Association (SODA)
- Southeastern Oklahoma University
- Spirit AeroSystems
- Town of Braman
- Tulsa Citizen Corps
- Tulsa County Sheriff's Office
- Tulsa Drillers
- Tulsa Public Schools
- U.S. Attorney's Office (Eastern District)
- U.S. Attorney's Office (Northern District)
- United Way of Central Oklahoma