Wide-ranging information on emergency planning and disaster preparedness, including detailed checklists for businesses and homeowners and resources for emergency planners and journalists, is available from a new Web site and hotline offered by the National Safety Council (NSC).
The council's "Emergencies & Disasters" Web site, which can be found at www.nsc.org/issues/prepare.htm, expands on disaster recovery information prepared by the NSC last month for businesses and residents of Lower Manhattan impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The new Web site is supplemented by a toll-free Emergency Planning Hotline (1-800-672-4692), where questions on preparing for emergencies can be directed to NSC experts.
"The tragedies of September 11 have left many Americans feeling vulnerable - but we certainly don't need to feel helpless," said NSC President Alan McMillan. "There are a number of steps we can all take to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies, either man-made or natural."
Every family, workplace and community should have an emergency preparedness and response plan, added McMillan. The new Web site includes a number of resources and products from NSC, as well as links to information from other sources. The goal is to help private citizens and organizations plan for emergencies in their homes, workplaces and communities.
The Web site offers two downloadable documents made available by the Council's Educational Resources Division: "Basic Safety & Security Inspection Checkpoints for Public & Commercial Buildings," a primer on developing safety and security programs and procedures; and "10-point Checklist for Emergency Preparedness."
The checklist was prepared by Dr. Susan M. Smith, assistant professor of Safety and Public Health at the University of Tennessee's Safety Center, with the help of graduate students participating in the university's Safety Workshop. The checklist can be used by business and building managers and emergency planners, as well as individual workers and residents, to determine if adequate emergency facilities and procedures, such as communication and evacuation systems, are in place and operating properly.
McMillan said that the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have added whole new dimensions to concept of safety in the United States. "While more than 5,000 people perished, the fact that 25,000 lives were saved at the World Trade Center underscores the importance of proper preparation for emergencies and disasters - including well thought-out and well-drilled evacuation procedures, facility readiness, training, education and communication," he said.
"Readiness must be an urgent priority for everyone charged with the responsibility for protecting the safety and health of workers and building occupants," he added. "Emergency planning can no longer be regarded as only theoretical: the threat of a disaster is real, and we must do everything we can to be prepared."
edited by Sandy Smith