FEMA PrepareAthon National Poster_General_v3

FORT LEE, Va. (Sept. 4, 2014) -- Few Americans (one-out-of-three) take disaster preparedness seriously, according to recent survey results published in Forbes magazine.

While 55 percent of the survey participants said they were “confident in (their) knowledge of proper response procedures,” the article noted that only 36 percent reported they “have a plan in place” in case of a major emergency.

“I’m confident those percentages are much higher among our community due to the ‘always ready’ mindset of service members and their families, and the many disaster response rehearsals conducted here throughout the year,” said Thomas Loden, installation emergency manager for the Fort Lee Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “However, any indicators of apathy are unfortunate. As a nation, we clearly have more work to do in the emergency preparedness arena.”

Raising awareness and encouraging individual and family readiness are the goals of the September observance of National Preparedness Month. The Army is teaming up with the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the 2014 readiness campaign called “America’s PrepareAthon.” It is a nationwide community based call-to-action that encourages discussion, planning and preparation. The campaign’s No. 1 goal is to increase the number of citizens who understand the hazards most relevant to their community and know the corresponding protective actions.

“Fort Lee leaders at all levels are dedicated to, and are continuously focused on, fostering a culture of preparedness to strengthen the Army and nation’s ability to prevent, protect, mitigate, respond and recover from any emergency,” said Loden. “By encouraging Soldiers, their families and the civilian workforce to be proactive in emergency planning, we turn awareness into action and take significant strides toward individual and family resiliency.”

Throughout the coming month, Loden noted, DPTMS will engage in an intense information campaign that will include the Traveller, social media sites and LeeKey. Community members are asked to read, discuss and act on the information as required. Even if those actions are nothing more than preparing a family emergency kit or learning more about local shelters, evacuation routes and how to shelter in place, Loden said they’re all steps in the right direction.

“Every action can potentially save lives, prevent injury, increase responsiveness and decrease the possible negative impacts of a disaster,” he added. “It also shows that Fort Lee recognizes emergency and disaster preparedness as a top priority, and is dedicated to a comprehensive approach that relies upon the responsiveness and cooperation of all units, tenants and personnel.”

Everyone is encouraged to reaffirm the necessity of preparedness by pledging to take action in support of “America’s PrepareAthon,” Loden said. Additional information on how individuals and families can improve their emergency/disaster response plan and assemble the correct preparedness kit can be found on the Ready Army website, www.acsim.army.mil/readyarmy, and the Ready Virginia website, www.readyvirginia.gov.

Questions about National Preparedness Month activities at Fort Lee can be directed to Loden at (804) 734-2680 or thomas.r.loden.civ@mail.mil.

(Editor’s note: the Forbes survey article can be found at http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnzogby/2013/05/16/americans-neither-worried-nor-prepared-in-case-of-a-disaster-sunyit-zogby-analytics-poll/)