Homeland Security Boss Helps Kick Off New Emergency Preparedness Campaign

U.S. Department of Hoemland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is in Houston to help unveil a regional disater preparedness. Campaign to increase awareness and encourage residents in the Houston-Galveston region to prepare for any disaster. Pat Hernandez has the story.

Secretary Chertoff joined local government leaders to unveil READY HOUSTON TEXAS. The campaign from the Ad Council has been localized, but Chertoff says the message is universal:

“The truth is, that that’s where preparedness begins. It begins at the ground level and moves up from there. And that’s why are vigorously promoting this public service advertising campaign, not only to educate Americans about the simple things we all can do to better position ourselves for an emergency, but to make it clear that this is not difficult. We want to empower people to recognize that they can take a few simple steps which is going to make life alot easier in the event we have some kind of a disaster or catastrophe.”



Funded by the govt’s Urban Area Security Initiative, the project is a multi-faceted preparedness program that is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese & Chinese. It is also closed captioned for the hearing impaired. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the region has become a model for emergency preparedness and response, but the ability to survive disaster depends on preparation:

“The government is ready at the county level, I know it’s ready at the city level and at the state level, and it’s also ready at the federal level. But, we do live in a hurricane-prone zone. So, we may as well all act like a hurricane is going to come this year. We hope it doesn’t, we pray it doesn’t, but let’s be ready if it does. So, if no other message comes out it’s to the individual citizen…prepare a kit, make a plan, get ready.”

The main goal of the effort is to encourage families to stock an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and keep informed about different emergencies that can occur and to respond appropriately.

Houston Mayor Bill White:

“They don’t call things disasters for nothing. So, I can’t tell you there is anything pleasant about times where I and others may have to come down to Transtar to talk to citizens about what we need to do, there’s no certainty about these things as well.”

Pat Hernandez. KUHF – Houston Public Radio News.

Image: U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff @ podium; behind to the left: Harris County Judge Ed Emmett;to the right: Houston Mayor Bill White.