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Be Prepared: Readiness key to surviving disasters

Willie Worsham, installation emergency management officer, displays the map used for tracking severe weather patterns. (File Photo)

Willie Worsham, installation emergency management officer, displays the map used for tracking severe weather patterns. (File Photo)

Published: August 29, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 29, 2014) -- Suppose that Cairns Army Airfield weather reported that a massive tornado would hit the Fort Rucker community sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. today.

Suppose the Fort Rucker Installation Operations Center predicted post housing areas would experience widespread electrical outages, water contamination and structural damage.

Suppose community members were asked to execute their emergency preparedness plans.

Now suppose that as sirens blare across the installation, instead of panic, post Soldiers and their Families approach the emergency with relative calm and steadfastly execute well-planned readiness strategies.

That’s the positive emergency-response scenario Fort Rucker leaders are striving for.

“The Department of Homeland Security has designated September as National Preparedness Month, and Fort Rucker Soldiers, Families and Civilians are encouraged to take stock of their own readiness and use the multiple agency resources available to make sure they are prepared when disasters strike,” said Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander.

“In support of Family emergency preparedness, in 2008, the Army developed the Ready Army campaign and promoted the slogan, Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed. Posted on the installation Internet site ( is a link to helpful resources including printable documents, a Kid’s Campaign and hazard-specific fact sheets. Among the print resources are ‘Emergency Preparedness for the Army Community,’ that includes tips on preparing a 72-hour emergency kit, the complete Ready Army brochure and other self-help information,” he said.

“Ready Army identifies the steps vital to emergency preparedness. These steps include getting an emergency supply kit, making a Family emergency plan, becoming informed about potential emergency situations, and getting involved in community preparedness and response efforts,” said Willie Worsham, Fort Rucker installation emergency management officer.

“National Preparedness Month is an important reminder about each American’s civic responsibility to prepare for emergencies,” said Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretary, in 2008. “Those with the capacity and wherewithal to help themselves must do so in advance, so that in the event of an emergency, responders can first assist those who are unable to tend to themselves.

“From wildfires and earthquakes to hurricanes tropical storms and flooding, recent events remind us more than ever that we must prepare ourselves and our Families for a disaster.  This is the time, each year, when every American should ask the question, ‘Am I ready?’”  Worsham said.

In addition to Ready Army resources, the American Red Cross offers online and mobile emergency preparedness information (, shelter locations and up-to-the-minute weather reports by region.

“Whenever disaster strikes, it is vital that Families are familiar with what to expect from their local, county and state emergency response teams. Learn where the closest shelter is and what to take with you, as well as what is not allowed,” said James Cassel, Wiregrass Area Chapter American Red Cross disaster specialist.

This article was originally published at

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