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Tennesseans Encouraged to Prepare

Thursday, September 06, 2012 | 05:21am

NASHVILLE --- Numerous Tennessee agencies are asking Tennesseans to participate in National Preparedness Month, the annual month-long campaign designed to make emergency preparedness a priority. The theme of the ninth nationwide effort is “Pledge to Prepare”.

“National Preparedness Month is an important reminder for us all to prepare and take an active role in the event of an accidental emergency, natural disaster or an act of terrorism,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “Disasters are typically sudden and unpredictable. Families, businesses and communities should have a minimum level of preparedness to sustain themselves until help arrives.”

In the past three years, eight Presidentially declared disasters have impacted well over half of Tennessee. James Bassham, Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, emphasizes the need for every individual, every family and every home to have at least a basic preparedness kit ready in case of emergencies.

“People need to be prepared today for what could happen tomorrow,” Bassham said. “If you don’t know what you need for a basic kit, you can download TEMA’s ReadyTN smartphone application or go online and find plenty of resources about the essentials for a kit.”

Commissioner Gibbons also noted that the 9/11 terrorists attacks on the United States should prompt citizens to prepare for potential man-made disasters. Tennesseans should be vigilant and report any unusual behavior, packages or devices to local law enforcement or the state’s Homeland Security Office.

“Unfortunately, terrorism is a very real part of our lives today. However, everyone can make a difference by actively participating in homeland security. Preparing for a terrorist attack is much the same as it is for other emergencies…be alert, remain informed and be prepared; most importantly, ‘If you see something, say something,’” Assistant Commissioner and Homeland Security Advisor David W. Purkey said.

Tennesseans can report suspicious activities online at or by calling 1(877) 250-2333, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Department of Health also participates in emergency response and preparation, and urges all Tennesseans to have a family plan for disasters and an emergency supply kit prepared at home.

“Don’t wait until an emergency occurs to start thinking about how you’ll feed your family, where you’ll take shelter, how to take care of those with special needs or how you’ll locate loved ones,” said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Take time to make or update a plan now so you’ll be ready before a disaster strikes.”

Additionally, basic disaster response skills can be met through the Tennessee Citizen Corps program’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training, which teaches fundamental emergency response measures to include fire prevention and suppression, head to toe medical assessments, and light search and rescue.

For additional information please contact, Tennessee Citizens Corps State Coordinator, Anna Smith (615) 741-1085 or visit

Get involved and “Pledge to Prepare” by visiting

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corp and the Ad Council. Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation.

The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is ( to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.

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