EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — July 14, 2010

9/11 Drill Down For Safety
Safe America Foundation's 2010 Preparedness Campaign

Brit Weber
Executive Vice President, Homeland Security and Preparedness Programs

Bob Surrusco
Executive Vice President, Administration and General Manager

Safe America Foundation

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following has been prepared from a transcription of the recording. The complete slide set (Adobe PDF) may be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/SafeAmerica/DrillDown.pdf for ease of printing.

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. Welcome to EMforum.org. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as Moderator today. We are very glad you could join us.

If you are looking for a new idea for this year’s National Preparedness Month that will encourage the residents of your state or local jurisdiction to participate in a preparedness activity, today’s program should be of interest to you. The Safe America Foundation is planning its second annual 9/11 Drill Down for Safety campaign, and will share information with us about how to get involved.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today’s guests:

[Slide 1]

Brit Weber has recently joined the Safe America Foundation as Executive Vice President for Homeland Security and Preparedness Programs. During the past five years at Michigan State University, Brit directed a Federally-funded program focused on fostering public/private partnerships for joint crisis management.

Bob Surrusco, has been with Safe America for over nine years and currently serves as Executive Vice President of Administration and General Manager. Bob has been involved in various safety and education programs developed for corporate and governmental partners, including Safe Communities, Operation Baby Buckle, QuakeSmart, Safe Teen Georgia, Pandemic simulations and the inaugural Drill Down for Safety program.

Welcome to you both, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to Brit to start us off please.


Brit Weber: Thank you very much, Amy. From my colleague Bob Surrusco and myself, thank you very much to the attendees who will be participating with us for the remainder of the hour. I think you will find this session very interesting. It is another option, and an exciting option, that many government, business, non-profit groups, families and individuals are electing to do.

I also wanted to, we went a little bit more into detail when I was saying to Amy, thank EMForum webinar series who is providing this opportunity to spend the remainder of the hour with you.

Just a real quick overview—just a couple of sentences—drill down for safety. On its simplest face, what it really means, we are encouraging more and more Americans to do some type of preparedness activity this September. Based on what you will hear over this next hour, we were very successful in our inaugural year, which my colleague, Bob, will explain to you a little bit more in detail, in this year’s program and the campaign continues to ramp up.

[Slide 2]

Bob Surrusco: Thank you, Brit. The Safe America Foundation is a safety and injury prevention non-profit based outside of Atlanta, but with programs that are national in scope. We started with a focus in driving safety, specifically looking at infant and child safety issues, but it has expanded over the years to internet safety, preparedness and travel safety, and response and preparedness all-hazard types of events.

As of April of this year, we have been able to pull together partners from a diverse grouping. We have National PTA supporting us, the International Association of Emergency Managers, the Medical Reserve Corps (Rob Tosatto, the Head of the Medical Reserve Corps, is on our Advisory Board).

We have been able to partner this year with NEDRIX (The North East Disaster Recovery Information Exchange), the All Hazards Consortium, ALAN (the American Logistics Aid Network), and the National Association for Emergency Medical Technicians, to name a few.

Basically, what we are trying to do is create a broad based coalition of organizations that can reach out and be more effective than some of the previous programs and getting people actually prepared and ready to go.

[Slide 3]

Brit Weber: You can see this next slide here—the purpose of this in here is, whenever there is an issue that any organization elects to challenge or take on, there has to be a reason for why we’re doing it. One of the reasons is, and I’m sure by everybody on today’s presentation, we know that there are ‘no’ challenges across the United States that we face when it comes to helping our communities, in whatever fashion it might be, public and private sector organizations, families and individuals, in being more prepared.

There are a number of statistical research and surveys that are out there across the United States. However, there haven’t been too many that have been in the area of personal preparedness. Fortunately, last year, the Citizen Corps group, which is within FEMA, and I hope that everyone in this webinar is familiar with it, but obviously you could do a Google search and find out that information about Citizen Corps.

They did a survey about personal preparedness in America. As you can see in the slide, we have a number of statistics. I’m not going to go through and read every one to you, as you can yourself, and of course, after the presentation you’ll have a copy of this. I want to draw your attention to a few of them.

Third bullet point down—56% do not have a household emergency plan. That is a very important note. If you’re not familiar with the survey, real quickly, this was done in early 2009, about 4,500 families. Let’s go down to another bullet point, where it says 74% have not participated in a workplace shelter-in-place drill. However, what is important to know, that 42% of the surveyed did do some type of participation in a workplace evacuation drill.

When we look at the issue of what our workplaces are doing, be it in either government or business or non-profit, we are looking at an area of 42% according to this survey, where we are starting to reach out and do more and more. Obviously, we need to do even more so.

Let’s go down to the next bullet point, where it says 77% have not volunteered for a community preparedness activity. What I really want you to note and see, what is interesting is one of the survey questions said 34% did volunteer during a crisis in a community. What is interesting to note is that when we look at these major crises—Hurricane Katrina, Ike, 9/11 attacks, whatever the case may be—we know that when there is a crisis, many times Americans from around the United States will start heading towards that area to help. In this survey, it said 34% did.

The key summaries, I think, are very important. The first one is—what we’ve heard more and more, especially since 9/11, the issue of 72 hour, 3 days, all of us need to be prepared. However it indicates still during this 2009 survey, that individuals still have a high expectation from our first responder community—that the police, fire, and EMS health are going to be able to be there and solve all of our issues. That might not be necessarily the case.

What does that mean to us? We need to do more awareness training. We need to do more information, and that will be an ongoing challenge.

The second bullet point goes back to something that all of us in our organizations be it public or private sectors, continue to do. Hopefully, we encourage our families to do this, and other individuals—training, training, training, practicing response, protocols and drills.

[Slide 4]

Bob Surrusco: What are the goals for Drill Down for Safety? Again, as Brit said, you can read these. I’m not going to verbatim read these off to you, but I’m going to hit some of the high points. Engaging Americans during preparedness activities for Preparedness Month—we look at our program as complementary to what ready.gov and Ready America are currently doing to reach out within the community.

A good bit of our focus is aimed at the business community—getting them involved in doing these drills and then passing that information through the risk management departments and human resource departments on to the employees to bring home to make sure they are safe at home, too.

In a lot of our research, and I’m sure many of you realize, if your employees do not feel that their family is safe and protected, whether they are in public safety or manufacturing, there is a good possibility they will not come into work, which will dramatically impact your continuity of operations plan, or if you are a public safety agency, your ability to respond.

We saw that during Katrina. We saw that in the earthquake in California, where doctors and nurses failed to respond to go to some of the hospitals. Even though there was an expectation, because they are doctors and nurses that they would come in after the earthquake—and many did. But there were a significant number who did not feel comfortable leaving their families at home because they did not feel they had prepared appropriately.

What we want to do is not only strengthen the business and be another voice in that area, but also push that down to their employees and families so you will be able to be up and respond. One of the things we are doing differently this year than during the first year, the inaugural outing or iteration, was to focus on texting as a drill that is easy, cost effective, simple to have your employees and family members participate in.

It takes very little time. It is a way of getting people used to being able to text to each other, messaging, thereby freeing up some broadband for public safety and potentially not threatening the communication system by moving a bulk of communication onto the texting side.

We’re going to establish some research benchmarks. We have some national noted authorities and subject matter experts that are working with us on this. There has been a lot of work done to this point to try to determine why people are drilling. We’re going to take that a little bit further and find out what it is during our drill down scenarios that had them get over that hump and actually do that drill, and also why they did not participate within that.

When we look at a preparedness activity, we have found that there are businesses and individuals who feel that if they get a 72-hour kit and if they get a plan put together for their business, they’re prepared. They’re ready to go. We feel that like the military and public safety agencies, unless they drill those things, it becomes a very expensive paperweight on their bookshelf and their employees just don’t know what they actually need to do, or they can’t do it intuitively during a crisis situation because they haven’t practiced it.

Part of what we try to do when we reach out to the business community is explain how it is good for business and how to make it cost effective for businesses to run these drills within their workplaces.

[Slide 5]

Brit Weber: On objectives, these are the components within our goals that we are trying to do specifically. Obviously, number one is we’re trying to get more Americans, like yourselves are also trying to do, to do some type of preparedness activity, whatever it might be. The idea that we have National Preparedness Month really ties in to that framework for all of us to utilize.

Bullet point number two—what we’re creating this year more so than last year, and it continues to grow and grow, is a grassroots effort across the United States. As Bob indicated, we’re really focusing a lot on the business community this year. There are a number of businesses that want to participate and are looking to engage us and they’re reaching out.

The third bullet point—and interesting aspect—we’re going to do some things with youth this year. As an example, FEMA, the regions, and up in Boston, the Federal Preparedness Coordinator up there, Russ Webster, in the education community and stuff, developed a program STEP which we are also going to be sharing throughout the drill down as a component.

Basically what STEP does is educates in schools, 5th graders on preparedness with the intent that 5th graders would go back home and work with their families on being more prepared. As a matter of fact, their inaugural was 2009 and they had about 40 schools and about 4,500 students that did this. This year, they are already getting a number of other—it will probably be two or three times bigger, and it might even be larger than that—have already indicated interest. We will continue to collaborate with them.

As you can see in the fourth bullet point, and as Bob had mentioned, we’ll be focusing on research in a variety of areas—not only why people drill or don’t drill, but we’ll also have a special component in the texting part of that campaign we’re doing this year.

Dropping down to the sixth bullet point, I’ll explain a little bit more in detail about how we are going to provide a process for Americans for anyone to participate in a preparedness activity by sending a text. Then, we have a dedicated website that you can see in the lower right hand portion of that slide, which is safeamericaprepared.org. We’ll explain that a little bit more detailed on that website what are some of the resources to you.

[Slide 6]

Bob Surrusco: Looking back to 2009, it is interesting to see what were threats and priorities last year compared to what we are looking at today and what we may feel as an important situation or scenario to try to drill and prepare for. Last year at this time, if you’ll remember, we had gone through and outbreak of swine flu. During the summer, it died back a little bit, but depending on where you were in the country, it was still fairly impactful on the plans which then impacted the drills that were planned.

Actually, when we put it together in July, when people were beginning to plan for their September activities, they started looking at pandemic drills and maybe some social distancing opportunities, and when September actually came and drills took place, some of our locations distributed the vaccines that were beginning to become available.

We were able to have over 400,000 Americans from high school students in San Diego, to the Medical Reserve Corps in Alexandria, Virginia, to Citizen Corps in other states participate in this. We had 127 sites. There were 24 states. They more or less covered most of the FEMA regions this year. We are going to make sure that every FEMA region has at least a few business or educational sites that participate in that FEMA region.

As a quick review, in FEMA region 1, which is the main Boston area, we had a texting drill and a functional pandemic preparedness drill. In region 2, which is New York City, we had a texting drill and a hurricane drill with one of UPS’s locations there. In region 3, we had a faith-based community of volunteers that did an exercise where they had to evacuate animals and set up a receiving station for that.

We saw that here in Atlanta with Katrina. Whereas the old paradigm was you didn’t move pets when you evacuated people, from the first plane that landed in Atlanta with evacuees from Katrina who were sick or injured, we saw pets coming off the planes. The reason for that was, in many cases, it was the only way these individuals would have left the New Orleans area, because it was all they had left. These were family members.

In Maryland, they actually ran a drill to see how they would receive these animals and how they would quarantine them and deal with the new reality of evacuations.

We did several building evacuation drills in region 3. That is a fairly common practice with businesses. At a minimum, they do fire drills. But these were more extensive drills where they actually stopped shipments to be received during that period of time to simulate a disruption in supply chain—that type of thing.

One of the areas we encouraged, and saw several businesses participate in—again, UPS being one of the primary ones—was a shelter-in-place drill, something a lot of businesses don’t have experience with, they have the documentation and maybe part of their preparedness plan, but they haven’t done a shelter-in-place for any prolonged period of time for that drill. That was pretty well received.

In Chicago, the entire 11-story CNA Insurance building was evacuated which involved all the tenants. It was coordinated from CNA Insurance and it was a very effective exercise that received news coverage, which is an additional benefit to a business in a community. If the media can see what it is you’re doing, they can give you a lot of good press for that which encourages your stockholders, your employees, and their families that you are taking their safety seriously.

Moving along, in region 6, which is in Texas, onsite emergency evacuation in a pre-school facility—there have been disasters that have hit our most vulnerable citizens, the infants and children in some of these locations. How do parents respond to that? How does public safety deal with parents and businesses that might be disrupted, not because the business is disrupted by the event, but because the employees have these familial responsibilities of having to go to where the disaster is that might affect their children.

We were able to get some good data on that. Region 8—Greensburg, Kansas, an area that was totaled by hurricane—they actually did a texting drill. That was in a community that came back from being basically destroyed by a series of tornados that found that texting drill greatly enhanced their ability to communicate with their families and loved ones, and their feedback was instrumental in pushing us towards having texting as a primary drill to be practiced this year.

Region 8—Utah, we had an entire community, Lindon City, Utah participated in the drill. Again, it was everything from evacuations to shelter-in-place. Region 9—San Diego—high schools did texting drills. The business community did evacuations and shelter-in-place.

They all had different scenarios that created the event. We tried not to focus on any one topic—be it hurricanes or tornados or terrorism—so that giving the individual locations the flexibility to practice what they chose to be their major concern, we feel encouraged people to actually participate in the drills.

[Slide 7]

Brit Weber: I think Bob’s explanation gave you a lot of examples of the various things that were occurring around the United States in 2009, and we are looking to expand that even more so this year.

Preparedness activities—when we started working with organizations one thing they asked was, "What do you want us to do?" The first thing we tell them to do is go to our website and click on the homepage where is says "take the pledge" or "pledge now" and fill out the information, which basically asks for their email in addition to their name, of course.

At that point, we capture it into a database and we follow up via email, depending on what time of the year they do it. If they do it now, they’ll be getting some emails between now and September 1 just reminding them that come September 1, we would like for them to do a preparedness activity.

Also, the other reason, what we need to do is right after the end of September, in October, we need to start identifying and collating this information to measure how many Americans actually did some type of preparedness activity. The second item says to send a text to 78247 and insert the word "safe". I’ll explain that a little bit more in detail in one of the subsequent slides. That is another activity. That is a very simple activity, and again we’re focusing on this important issue of using texting instead of making a voice call through the networks, be it landlines or cellular ones.

As Bob had mentioned earlier in a couple of previous slides, when in fact we all reach for the landline or cell phone to make a voice call, as occurred in 9/11 and various other times, the networks are down or impaired. However, there is always an opportunity that in the majority of the time, we should be able to get a text through, depending on the capabilities of the network and the phone.

Other preparedness activities, and you can see a number of them and I’m not going to read them all because I want to make sure we stay on time with our presentation. I think what we’ll do is move on to the next slide.

[Slide 8]

This slide is just a visual on the importance of texting. Again, you’re going to hear this repeated through this hour of presentation, there are certain themes or concepts we want to make sure we are really expressing the message to all of you, and in turn, hopefully you will express to all of your networks. You can see the different examples of various texting activities.

[Slide 9]

In this other slide, some of the key events that we’ve done for 2010—as in last year for 2009, former Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, was chairing the entire drill down campaign. This year we have a special focus on texting. Our National Spokesperson is West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin for the 2010 texting campaign.

Actually, there are a number of events all related around that we could spend a lot of time telling you some of the unique things we are going to do, including a texting preparedness activity during one of the college football games that is coming up in September.

Some of the other events that you can see around the United States, and we’re going to have others—what we’re going to do is set up our preparedness website (at the bottom right) to insure that we get the calendar correctly onto that website to let people know what various events are going on.

Second from the bottom—research—pre and post surveying of Americans on preparedness—we’ll be working with our good friends over at Booz Allen Hamilton who is going to be helping us on pre and post surveying. I believe that survey will be focusing mostly on texting.

Then, of course, webinars that we’re going to be providing—if you go to the website, you’ll see on there that this is our first series of webinars between July, August, and September. We’ll be posting that calendar. We are firming up some of the presenters at this point.

[Slide 10]

Bob Surrusco: Safe America has been in this space for a number of years. I want to point out a few of the sponsors that we’ve worked with and supporters in the past. If you’ll look at the French Republic’s logo, we actually sent a team to meet with the Minister of Health in Paris with the first pandemic we were preparing for—avian flu—people have forgotten about that one at this point, after everything that went on with the swine flu.

With the United Nations, we worked with Dr. David Nabarro, again, in preparing how communities would respond. We actually did a social distancing exercise with a major military contractor in Florida. We ran it for a month to determine what sort of impact social distancing would have on their efficiency in that workplace.

GlaxoSmithKline—we worked with them only in education and preparedness for avian flu and also for swine flu, in that reach. A variety of the other sponsors and supporters, like Home Depot and Wal-Mart—these were distribution locations where we might be able to get information out to the community as well as supplies and class time, if you will.

[Slide 11]

You can connect with us in a variety of places—through safeamericaprepared.org website that Brit just mentioned. We are also on Facebook. We tweet, which is a phrase that I am beginning to get my arms around and become more social-networking aware (I don’t know about savvy), but that has been a major impact.

We noticed it during the swine flu outbreak last year. The difference between preparing for avian flu and preparing for swine flu—and last year, which was really when Flickr and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the other social networking tools really came to the fore, and how did the public health agencies use them to inform the community or not, and what was that sort of impact. That was very interesting both from an observer as well as a participant’s point last year in Georgia.

We have information on safety training, practice drill information. You can get some scenarios—one of the things we’ve been very lucky about is organizations like Liberty Mutual and UPS, Delta and several other large corporations have given us plans and drills that are not proprietary and that you are more than welcome to download and adapt to your particular situation and use as a template.

They look at it as a corporate responsibility to make this information available to us. The webinars and podcasts—we have all of our webinars from 2009 available, either PowerPoint and audio, or just the PowerPoints. I think you’ll find them very interesting. We had a great selection of subject matter experts on everything from reaching out to at-risk communities during a disaster, to the legal implications. All that information is available at safeamericaprepared.org.

[Slide 12]

Here is a screenshot, reiterating what Brit mentioned earlier. Right on this homepage, safeamericaprepared.org, where the cursor is moving right now you can see it says, "pledge now". Click on that link. Pledge to drill. We understand that a pledge made in July—there may be something that comes up in your business that prevents you from doing something on September 10 or 11, but it is a reminder of the first step towards actually taking an action to exercising a part of your continuity plan.

[Slide 13]

Brit Weber: I think Bob gave you some really good information about some of the resources we can provide and also networking. What we see here right now with "What Can I Do?"—these are the things we are asking of you. These are things we are asking of others, and our collaborators and partners are reaching out through their networks and doing the same thing.

Our goal this year is to reach 1 million Americans. We reached 400,000 last year, and that was our first year. That happened through a lot of organizations. Not only did businesses, as Bob was talking about that we’ve really been reaching out to, but there have been a lot of FEMA regions that have really been supportive and pushing.

It really started with region 5 in Chicago. Through their leadership, with them spreading the word with their colleagues throughout other regions, we are starting to converse and collaborate more and more with the other regions.

What everybody recognizes is we know there is not one single way to reach out to all the Americans to do some type of preparedness activity. It has to come from government. It has to come from business. It has to come from the non-profit organizations, from groups, families, individuals and other people. With everybody’s combined effort, I’m pretty sure we are going to reach 1 million and probably surpass it as we continue to build this campaign into future years.

Second bullet point—we talked about a very simple activity we are pushing this year. The importance of texting—we’ve seen that. As we well know, when we read about lessons learned or best practices, especially after the 9/11 attacks when the communications went down throughout New York City area, specifically New York City, about the only way to communicate via some type of form was texting through Blackberries at that point.

There was all sorts of information that documented that. We’ve seen it with the various hurricanes, Ike, especially Haiti. We’re doing more and more with Haiti. There are a number of things we haven’t shared with you because we are focusing on Drill Down for Safety. But we are dialoging with a number of people in Haiti, and we are identifying some very important issues that we need to share with Haiti and also with Americans.

If we can get them to text first versus making some type of vocal phone call—I was talking about the aspect—if you were to go to use your cell phone after you get off this webinar and put in 78247 for text to, and the word "safe" and hit "enter", you are going to receive an automated reply from what appears to be from Safe America, but it is actually from one of our close partners. It’s called Guest Assist.

Guest Assist provides this type of service to a number of organizations around the U.S. They like what we’re doing and they’re providing this service to us. A person would go in and type in 78247, they put in the word "safe", they hit send, they receive the automated reply that says, "Thank you very much for doing this and can we have your email address?"

At that time, they provide the email address and they hit send one more time. They get back one more reply that gives them some links to our prepared website and one of our informational documents. That information, that email, is another way for us to capture the number of people who are doing a preparedness activity. We, in turn, will relay some information to them on a regular basis between now and September.

Third bullet point—we need your help, folks. We really do. Everybody recognizes that the more we do something for a preparedness activity, the better it is going to be that we are part of the solution and not part of the problem. You will have our contact information here shortly on the last slide. Feel free to send us your contacts. If you have an idea that someone might be interested in this, be it an organization, government, private, whatever the case might be, feel free to do that.

What we are continuing to do is trying to build the database and putting it all together so we can continue to collaborate with government, businesses and others, and collectively do this together. With that we’ll move on to next slide and on to the questions.

[Slide 14]

Bob Surrusco: In summary, and as a recap, during National Preparedness Month, Safe America is going to reach out across the country to a variety of organizations, to engage youth (high school and college students, and even some younger than that through USA Today and the National PTA) to go home to become mentors to their families on getting prepared for all hazards or any type of a situation.

This year we have a significant number of historically black colleges and universities that we are reaching out to that will engage their student population to go out and participate and encourage their families to participate. Texting will be a main priority, as we mentioned several times before.

Going in a different direction to get to the same result of having businesses and communities more prepared and more resilient—we are not fearmongers, and that is one of the reasons that this is an aspect of our umbrella programming in this are called "prepared, not scared".

If the organizations that go out within the community and try to get compliance by raising the fear level, we feel that just freezes the individuals within the community and they end up not prepared and not even really trained to respond. If they’re prepared, if we can have the businesses prepared, and their employees and their family members prepared, we will have a resilient community, and they won’t be scared, and that community will come back quicker.

[Slide 15]

Thank you for your attention, and we will turn it back over to Amy.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much gentlemen. Great overview. Now, to proceed to our Q&A.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Steven Longmire: How can we and the confusion of all of the NGOs, government entities, faith-based organizations, and anyone else promoting the creation of a family emergency plan, (it's very confusing), is there a way to pull all of these entities into supporting your effort, even though your organization seeks funding through donation as do most the others for their survival? The problem again is the confusion on the Internet and the message given by all of these entities. The message is not delivered the same. Thank you

Bob Surrusco: Absolutely. Right on the mark as far as the confusion. Unlike prior to 9/11 when there was very little information out there, now there is a horrendous amount of information out there. I say "horrendous" because it is contradictory. I was doing a talk to a local Kiwanis Club on 9/11 2 years ago. Prior to that, I did some research, and one of the big business concerns is storing information offsite.

I went to 3 government sites. I won’t mention who they are, but they are 3 government sites that work in this area. The first one said, "You need to back up your information offsite." Okay, we all understand that. The second one said, "You need to back up your information offsite, and the offsite location needs to be 15 miles away." Okay, it could be pretty much out of the disaster area and I could get to the offsite location for my information.

The third site, same niche, same space, same topic, said you had to back it up at an offsite location that was 150 miles away. Which is it? There is a lot of confusion out there as to the messaging. It would be easier if we could have one main funnel. We would encourage people if you have relationships with other non-profits have them come work with us.

Yes, we do solicit funding through contributions. We are a 501C3, but one of the differences between us and a lot of other non-profits is that the majority of our funding does not come from governmental dollars. We do not use tax dollars to the extent some other organizations do towards making programs like this happen. That’s the reason we have to solicit contributions.

We believe in coalition building. It can be as simple as they can pledge to drill and become part of our regional task force. They can find that information out on our website.

Brit Weber: Let me just add a couple of minor points here. That is the challenge which you were talking about. I’m going to talk specifically about the confusion of information. It’s a good news/ bad news—the good news is we have too much information now, compared to, like Bob said, back to 9/11 when we had less. Also, the good news is, I think we’re seeing a real structured interest by government and also by the private sector on using September as a preparedness month.

With all the different things going on across the U.S. twelve months a year, the more we can rally around September as a preparedness month—that keeps us all in focus. The bad news is the same as the good news—we have too much information. What that means for each and every one of us is pick those topics or those issues, or that content that resonates with you and use that as your focus.

Susan Sanderson:
Great idea for National Preparedness Month! Emergency Management, federal, state, and local, has the charter to educate the public at large on preparedness. The role of Emergency Management is one of coordination, but many do not know what emergency management is. [Rest of question unavailable.]

Brit Weber: Let me take a wild guess at the rest of Susan’s question when she was talking about what is emergency management. For many of you on the phone, most of you know. But that is an issue across the United States that is confusing to the average American. They can look at government and say, "I know who the police chief is, I know who the fire chief is, but who is this emergency management official? What are they doing and what is going on?"

I think the role of FEMA is helping to define that, even though there were some struggles and black eyes versus maybe some previous national incidents, but it continues to be further and further defined. As a note to all of us, we need to continue to support our local emergency management officials. Find out who they are, reach out to them, and spread the word.

Brenda Carlevato: Do you have suggestions for those who do not use texting related to cost; is there free texting for emergencies?

Isabel McCurdy: Is the texting a free service?

Brit Weber: There is a cost. As a matter of fact, if you send a text to 78247, put the word in "safe", depending on your phone plan, you might be charged a small fee for that, or you might not. It just depends on your plan.

Is there a movement ahead to make texting free? I think with more and more focus on texting for preparedness, we’ll probably see that. We probably won’t see that right at this point. As you know, you can pick up free phones that will automatically go in and dial 911 with no cost, but those are great issues that will hopefully be resolved in the future.

Bob Surrusco: For some additional ideas for drills if texting is not a feasible choice for you and your organization, you go to safeamericaprepared.org and go to the toolkit section, there are several templates for other drills you can do.

Chevalier Jackson: Do you partner with the telecom providers to promote the 'text first' initiative, or is it driven mainly from your organization?

Bob Surrusco: Partnering is—I’m not really sure how that question is being asked—are we doing it because we’re raising revenue for the telecom providers? No. We have our partners, like Motorola, in this particular instance, who actually makes cell phones, but no one is going to go out and buy a cell phone just to do this drill.

We are encouraging the use of the texting because of feedback we have received from public safety and disaster professionals as far as some of the problems they run into in these disasters. Verizon, in West Virginia, has signed on as a sponsor and they are supporting some of our other initiatives in this area, but it is not any sort of a quid pro quo, if you will, of, "we’ll promote the use of your service, you’ll generate funds, and you’ll give the funds to us".

If that were the case, governmental organizations, which I won’t go into at this point, would not be able to affiliate with us. Again, that is not part of our charter and what we are able to do.

We have approached Verizon, AT&T—we have approached the top 4. They are very seriously looking at it as a national roll out, if not this year, then in 2011. From their perspective, it would be a lot easier for them to do this type of drill nationally than to do it in one or two states. The answer in that case is we are working with them.

Any sort of grassroots—if you have contacts in your local telecom providers, push it up. Headquarters—I believe it is Basking Ridge for Verizon, AT&T, I believe is out of New York. We are talking to them, and we are encouraging them, but it is a big move for them to support something like this. Any encouragement that the listeners and participants can offer, we would welcome that.

Brit Weber: All of us who have been around for a long time when it comes down to these kinds of critical incidents, or read about them, or crises, especially a really large one, we know that the landlines could go down, and we also know that the cell towers will go down. If you are a wireless carrier, like Verizon Wireless that we’re working with, then the more people that text first allows those voice cellular networks to work.

It’s a no-brainer. It makes sense from their point, and our point, too.

Rich Kos: Has Safe America attempted to go directly to emergency managers to get them to partner up their local efforts with yours for September? Many emergency managers plan public education for Sept. now.

Amy Sebring: Is there a flyer for the 2010 campaign so that folks such as emergency managers or businesses can use to try to get the word out to other potential participants?

Brit Weber: Yes, we do. We have a flyer. We have a couple of different flyers. We haven’t posted them yet on the prepared website, but we will be shortly. We were fine-tuning them. We were sending them out and we added more staff, so we are in the process. At the end of the presentation, feel free to email either Bob or I, and say, "Have you got that flyer?" We’ll send it out to you right away. I am sure that will more than suffice for what you need.

Bob Surrusco: We are also reaching out to the emergency managers through IAEM and NEMA. They are professional associations trying to get the message out to them.

Rick Tobin: The public may be concerned about what will be done with their information, even their e-mail, based on misuse of collecting agencies in the past. How are you assuring personal data will not be sold or unprotected?

Bob Surrusco: The only way we can assure that it is a secured website, to the extent that it has the security built in to it the same way as if you made a donation, what have you. We as a non-profit have never collected that data and used it either for direct solicitation or selling to others. That’s a commitment of our 16-year-old non-profit—we just don’t do that. You won’t get a phone call from Home Deport or Lowe’s trying to sell you a widget for disaster preparedness.

Steven Longmire: Is there an opportunity to give some benefit or recognition for those companies that take the step to create a plan, and one step further ensuring that all of the employees that work for that company, and because of the potential benefit of reduction of responder requests because people (at least those working for that company) are prepared and ready to take care of themselves for 72 hours. Any government grants? Or tax deductions for their expenses, both corporate and individual. Thank you. Sorry for these, but they are very important initiatives (I am very excited with your efforts. Great Show!)

Brit Weber: That’s a good question. With the various organizations we worked with last year—first thing, are there incentives from Safe America—are we going to be able to distribute certificates or anything? No, not at this point. However, internally, what we’ve heard is various organizations where they have offered types of recognition and incentives based on the organizational culture.

I am sure there are other people in your network that you can talk with them about that aspect, saying, "We want to do a preparedness activity—do we need to do some type of incentive?" In our programs, here at Safe America, we do the same things, too. As a matter of fact, there will be some incentives within the Drill Down for Safety that we are working on currently at this time.

Those are things that a little bit of creativity and talking with some others would really help kind of define that. I agree it’s very important that when somebody does something, in some way we have to recognize them and pat them on the back.

Bob Surrusco: We are looking at for the future a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval type of certification, but the right is, and those of you in risk management know, and public safety, you have to start getting involved—if you are going to give this seal, what does it mean? If it really means something, who are the official certifying agencies for that standard? That is something we are looking at, but it is just going through the process right now.

Amy Sebring: Do you solicit feedback from participants after the drill? If so, what kind of comments did you get last year?

Bob Surrusco: Yes, and the majority of the individuals who participated were very positive. They found that because of the structure that we set up for them, the day of the event we actually had a conference call that lasted four hours—we started on one side of the country and went across to the other. People could call in and basically do a little bit of bragging and a "man on the street" report of what their city, what their business was doing.

They liked that ability to brag about what they had done, but also to hear about what other organizations were doing. It gave them some of their ideas for how they will participate this year.

We will be reaching out and that is one of the ways that internally we will be using the information we are collecting, saying, "If you pledge that your organization is going to drill, we will come back to you in October and ask what you did. Were you able to meet the goals and objectives you were looking for? If there were things that were missing, what could we do to help you further next year?"

We will "generic-ize" this so that it is based into topics, so that an individual organization is not embarrassed that it did not meet its goals, but it will set the basis for best practices and lessons learned for 2010 and what we can try for in 2011.

Amy Sebring: As far as the research aspect that you mentioned earlier, do they expect to put together some kind of evaluation report for you?

Bob Surrusco: Yes, that is being conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton and an outside polling organization for us, and that information will be—Brit is actually on the metrics committee for that polling survey.

Brit Weber: We are working with Argonne National Laboratories at the University of Missouri. Some other ones, too, in regard to Booz Allen Hamilton, on putting together all of this information so we can ship out a comprehensive report in 2010.

Amy Sebring: Will you make that public?

Brit Weber: Yes, that is our goal.

Bob Surrusco: Make that public to people who pledged to drill.


Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. Thanks very much to you both. That was a very good overview. We appreciate your taking the time to share this information with us. We hope you have a very successful campaign.

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Our next program will be on July 28th when our special guest will be Margaret Davidson, Director of the NOAA Coastal Services Center. Please make plans to join us then.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for participating today and have a great afternoon everyone. We are adjourned.