by Sen. James L. Seward
September is National Preparedness Month. Here in New York we have many recent reminders why it is vital to be ready for both natural and man-made disasters.
Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and Superstorm Sandy are still fresh in the minds of New Yorkers and many area communities are continuing to rebuild from those devastating storms.
Other unnamed storms hit our region regularly, displaying the raw power Mother Nature can harness.
Grants will help make sure homes and businesses are protected for years to come without burdening local governments and taxpayers.
With severe weather striking on a much more regular basis, added steps need to be taken to shore up our infrastructure, improve our emergency response, and enhance our ability to rebuild.
This week also marks the anniversary of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history—September 11th.
Since that fateful date in 2001, we have made great strides in areas of national security and defense.
We have also worked tremendously hard at the federal, state and local levels to upgrade our emergency preparedness as we ready ourselves for potential man-made and natural disasters.
While our first responders are extremely important to disaster preparation, everyone can play a role.
All Americans should take steps to ensure that their homes, workplaces and communities are prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.
To that end, I have co-sponsored several Citizen Prepared-ness Corps training programs to help everyone be better prepared in case of a disaster.
The free training sessions, lead by the New York National Guard, provide citizens with the tools and resources to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond accordingly, and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.
Each family in attendance receives a NYS Disaster Preparedness Backpack containing essential items to store in their homes.
The specialized training, along with the backpacks, will help New Yorkers be the most-trained and best-prepared citizens in the country.
While there are no upcoming training programs locally, you can watch an on-line training video at www.nyprepare.gov, simply click on the link at the top of the page for the New York State Citizen Preparedness Corps.
New training dates and locations are added on a regular basis, so I suggest you check the website frequently.
I will also post any updated information on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/senatorjimseward.
Along with the disaster training program information, the website serves as a comprehensive clearinghouse of safety and preparedness information from a variety of state and federal agencies.
It is a terrific resource before, during, and after a disaster.