Safe America Chairman Steve Mason (CEO of BayCare Health System) helped kick off BE Safe America this past week before a live Atlanta audience at Sprint’s Executive Briefing Center, noting that this year’s program is just one more illustration of the Foundation’s commitment of protecting lives.
BE Safe America – which encourages communities, businesses and individuals to ‘pledge to conduct emergency drills’ – is entering its sixth season, with a goal of engaging 5 million people. It is promoting the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA – and it’s upcoming ‘Prepare-a-Thon’ on September 30 along with the global ‘ShakeOut’ drills being conducted on October 16.
Mr. Mason thanked volunteers such as educator Luvenia Jackson, Superintendent of the Clayton County School System, noting that the work of educating people on disaster response is critical to our society. Mr. Mason applauded the Clayton County School System for modeling how a school system can engage students and parents in promoting safety. It was noted that Clayton County is involving 10 high schools and 6 middle schools in a national test pilot program for November 8.
George Huff, a spokesman for the Association of Contingency Planners, shared an overview on how conducting drills makes people better able to see the gaps in resiliency. Mr. Huff reinforced how being involved in BE Safe America is a good way to have companies and communities assess where their weaknesses are and better plan for future emergencies. Joe Van De Loo added that ACP leaders from across the country have already pledged to lead-the-campaign, with Chapters in New York, Philadelphia, Denver, Detroit and Atlanta already active.
UPS Foundation was thanked for its leadership in helping grow the program nationally. 2014 marks the sixth year of the program, begun in 2009 under the leadership of former Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and FEMA Preparedness Director Dennis Schrader.
A variety of leaders – representing Sprint, Cumulus Media, Allstate, The Great ShakeOut Drills, Montlick and Associates, Delta Air Lines and Safe America were present for six hours of discussions and planning, resolving around BE Safe America and two other initiatives to assist returning veterans as well as young people. A new day-long event – including three elements entitled ‘Brain Camp,’ ‘Redeployed at Home’ and ‘Safety on the Home Front’ – were announced for November 8. The events – to be held at the new Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta – will be used to raise funds for the Foundations’s programming while serving the three audiences of youth, veterans and disaster preparedness / public safety officials.
“We have launched a 60-day blitz today, which will run through November 11 – noted Safe America CEO Len Pagano. “With our BE Safe America coalition growing – with new partners such as the Red Cross as well as renewing partners such as the Medical Reserve Corps, IAEM, NEMA and Operation HOPE, we are emboldened to press forward, knowing that more disasters are inevitable – and the work we’re doing can save lives.”
Organizations are invited to pledge-to-drill at SafeAmerica.org/pledge and attend the November 8 events at the Delta Flight Museum. To learn more on roles for companies, contact Executive Vice President Bob Surrusco at (770)-973-7233. Below are photos taken at one of three events today, taken at the Delta Flight Museum which Mr. Mason toured with volunteer leaders.