(by Dan Stoneking, FEMA Private Sector Director)
On Saturday, 29 June, I woke at 3:00 a.m., startled at how hot it was in our room. I looked around and saw that the clock and the night light were both off. We had lost power as part of the severe storm that raced across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. With the air-conditioning off and the heat already rising during a record-setting heat wave, I was concerned for my baby daughter Chloe in her crib beside the bed and for my toddler daughter Ivy in her room one floor below.
I reached out and grabbed a flashlight, because it was there. I gathered bottled water, food and my emergency kit, because they were there. I went outside to load the car and found a tree on top of it. I removed the tree, because I had the tools. I gathered my family and we got in the car, able to go wherever we needed, because I planned ahead and we had a full tank of gas. Our family responded and recovered quickly because we prepared and had a plan. It is not a motto. It’s a choice. And each of you can help make sure that many more people make the right choices.
Earlier this year we kicked off our campaign to get all Americans to “Pledge to Prepare.” Based on requests from many of you, for the first time ever this is a yearlong campaign that will culminate with National Preparedness Month in September. The goal and theme this year is to turn awareness into action – in other words, don’t just sign up; sign up and do something meaningful, measurable and visible. And there are just a few – very few – key points:
- Even if you signed up last year, you need to sign up again. It takes 30 seconds (1/3 of the time it took last year because we listened to you.)
- When you sign up you get countless tools, forums and calendars to share, promote and re-purpose the best programs and ideas.
Please help us ensure that next time there’s a severe storm, power outage, flooding, wildfire or other disaster that all of the people that you touch in your business and your life know and have done what matters – because you invested this time, right now in what matters.
Take care. – Dan