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September 2008 Themes for Community Outreach

National Preparedness Month

Coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security and co-chaired by Citizen Corps and the Ready Campaign, National Preparedness Month (NPM) encourages state, tribal, and local governments, non-profits, and the private sector to focus on individual and family preparedness at home, at work, and at school. Each year, hundreds of organizations show their support by joining the NPM Coalition and planning a wide range of preparedness events. Past activities have included:

  • preparedness booths at the state capitol or state fairs;
  • proclamations, press conferences or town hall meetings on preparedness issues;
  • statewide public service announcements and awareness campaigns;
  • large scale emergency first aid and safety trainings;
  • student training camps;
  • pandemic flu planning sessions;
  • group projects to put together and distribute emergency preparedness kits for others;
  • emergency exercises and drills; and
  • targeted outreach to vulnerable populations

Back to School Activities

This month, consider visiting local schools and talking to students about how they can help in emergency preparation and to ensure students and parents understand the school's emergency plan. Use this opportunity to recruit young people to take an active role in helping the community. With elementary school children, hold an official Citizen Corps junior volunteer event with giveaways such as Citizen Corps branded pencils and notebooks, and share information about preparing family emergency plans. For high schools, consider reaching out to administrators to form a student service club within the school designed to work with the local council on volunteer efforts. Work with the school to offer age appropriate training for first aid all the up to CERT training for older kids. Help organize Junior Citizen Corps in student government and mirror the community-wide efforts of preparedness (including evacuation and sheltering drills), training, and volunteer programs to support law enforcement, fire services, and public health/emergency medical services.

September 1, 2008: Labor Day

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday is a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. In recognition of these contributions, reach out to local businesses with thanks and information about keeping employees safe through developing emergency plans and kits, providing on-site training opportunities, and practicing evacuations and sheltering in place. Also ensure that businesses review OSHA requirements and have first aid kits and Automatic Emergency Defibrillators (AEDs) available throughout the building. Additionally, consider sharing information on general office safety. For more information, please visit CDC's page on Workplace Safety & Health. And don't forget to reach out to local reporters to share the idea of promoting workplace safety this holiday.

September 11, 2008: Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 Attacks

This is a day to reflect upon the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and to honor its victims. Work with members of your community to determine the most appropriate way to commemorate this day. Encourage citizen's who volunteer to register their service on the My Good Deed wesbite. My Good Deed is a national movement launched in 2003 to establish 9/11 as a national day of kindness, service and reflection.

Throughout the month of September, Americans will coordinate in somber remembrance of the terrorist attacks of 2001. As a result, citizens will be thinking more about keeping their communities safe. Reinforce the value and importance of protecting communities by asking local retail stores to hand out information on disaster preparedness and asking your local news to broadcast the information. Consider having a community vigil or ceremony where leaders in the community and Citizen Corps volunteers can speak about the importance of being prepared, and offer citizens ways to volunteer and assist their community.

September 15-October 15, 2008: National Hispanic Heritage Month

Distribute Spanish-language preparedness materials during the month from September 15 to October 15 at places of worship, community centers and senior centers. Invite a leader in the Hispanic community to speak about the importance of preparedness at schools and community forums.

September 16-22, 2008: National Child Passenger Safety Awareness Week

Download information about proper child passenger safety, offered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and consider providing printed copies of the Proper Child Safety Seat Use Chart for distribution to relevant retail outlets such as gas stations, grocery stores, and malls. Think about encouraging your area radio station to provide information on child safety restraints, citing Citizen Corps points of contact for more information. Safe Kids Worldwide also provides useful outreach information on this issue.

September 17, 2008: Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day focuses on the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens both native-born and naturalized. Use Citizenship Day to focus on the contributions of immigrants to this country and to tap into the importance of civic responsibility. Prepare public messages to convey the personal responsibilities we all have as citizens to prepare, train, and volunteer!

September 21-26, 2008: Deaf Awareness Week

Contact local support groups and sign language groups to make sure that they are adequately prepared in case of an emergency, have equal access to training opportunities, and participate in volunteer programs. Invite them to share their needs and find a way to support this group in your community. The National Association of the Deaf has useful information and a community event planning guide on their website.

Wildfire Mitigation

A long, dry summer can leave many U.S. regions susceptible to wildfires. It's important to remind your community how easily a fire can start and how quickly it can spread. Consider distributing information about the typical ways wildfires start and the ways to prevent them to local media, offering interviews with Citizen Corps. Invite local firefighters to visit area schools to discuss these issues with students. Encourage families to safeguard their homes, develop an emergency evacuation plan, and stress the importance of ensuring safety over protecting property. Visit Firewise for more information on how to reduce damage in wildland/urban interface areas. The Firewise Communities/USA recognition program enables communities in all parts of the United States to achieve a high level of protection against wildland/urban interface fire as well as sustainable ecosystem balance.

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