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National Preparedness Month to help raise awareness of being ready
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Image by Defense Logistics Agency
National Preparedness Month kicked off at the McNamara Headquarters Complex on Sept. 4 with a Preparedness and Security Expo and guest speaker.

Employees visited tables and exhibits from more than 30 vendors focused on raising awareness of the importance of being prepared for disasters and to encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses and communities.

Throughout the day, McNamara Headquarters Complex employees had the chance to visit and talk to various vendors and government representatives at the expo in the HQC cafeteria. Displays by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the American Red Cross, and the Fort Belvoir Fire Department were among the participants answering questions and handing out preparedness information. Commercial vendors included Home Depot, ADT Security Systems, and ServePro.

Michael Wood, DLA emergency management program manager, said the expo provided opportunities for employees to educate themselves on preparedness and security topics for future disasters and emergencies.

“Preparedness is as much an individual responsibility as it is an organizational one. I encourage everyone to take the time to prepare themselves and their families, because we never know when or where a disaster may occur,” he said.

The DLA Continuity of Operations team handed out information on ration kits people can purchase and educated people about AtHoc, a mass notification system available to all HQC employees. One employee who signed up to receive the notices was grateful for the alerts last winter with information on building closures, saying AtHoc is “as good as gold.”

Representative from the Fairfax County Public Outreach and Public Education Team explained one reason firemen visit elementary schools dressed in their full gear is to get small children used to seeing them so they are not afraid if they need to be rescued. Children need to learn what to do and how to react if a disaster occurs when they are not at home, he said.

The American Red Cross team provided information on CPR classes, disaster and safety mobile applications available for free from the Red Cross and how to plan and care for pets before, during and after an emergency. Their main message was to not only for individuals to prepare themselves for an emergency but to also think about how they can help others.

The Fort Belvoir Fire Department emphasized what services they have available for tenants and residents of the base by offering free fire inspections. The firemen also emphasized the importance of having working smoke detectors, designating two evacuation routes, and knowing how to get out of a second story window if you are trapped.

After lunch, Lamar Greene, assistant chief for homeland security of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, spoke on interagency cooperation in the city and the importance of creating and following emergency plans.

Defense Logistics Agency Chief of Staff Renee Roman welcomed Greene and said DLA takes being prepared seriously.

“We have many activities scheduled throughout the month,” she said. “One week from now we will take a moment to think about 9-11. It was as after that event that [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] designated September as National Preparedness Month. We need to remember that anything can happen at any time, anywhere. The question is, ‘Are we safe, and are we ready?” Our goal in observing NPM is to keep fresh in our minds how we can be ready and be prepared.”

Roman recounted a story about the earthquake that struck the Washington D.C. area in August 2011.

“How many of you thought you would have to deal with an earthquake that day when you came to work? Not me,” she said. “You need a plan so you know how to deal with such events so you can be safe.”

Greene gave a detailed account of his department’s role in the Washington Navy Yard shooting a year ago. In addition to lessons learned on tactics and techniques, he emphasized the importance of having a plan.

“Constant practice and reinforcement is important to know what the plan is and what to do if something happens,” he said. “You need to have plans for many different events in today’s world. That is unfortunate but a reality. You need to have rallying points and need to know that if something happens on this base everyone knows how to react.”

Greene also encouraged people to report suspicious activity when they see it. A 2009 study showed that 80 percent of 29 separate disrupted terrorist plots were discovered and stopped by tips from the public.

“Err on the side of caution. Suspicious activity reporting should be a part of any preparedness plan,” he said.

“You avoid being a victim by being prepared,” Greene added.

www.dla.mil/DLA_Media_Center/Pages/newsarticle20140908010…

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