Article by Amanda Bicknell, External Affairs Officer, Region VII
Much of the East Coast and even inland, east of the Mississippi River, watched closely as Hurricane Isaac changed from a tropical storm to a hurricane and then back again, a few times. Here in the Midwest, for the first time in recent memory, our eyes and ears were also peaked—waiting to see what track it would take.
Would it bring relief from our severe drought, or flashfloods that washed away more precious topsoil? There were fingernail biting moments—well, several anyway, but all we could do was monitor and prepare.
As the storm approached, Region VII’s External Affairs staff completed arrangements with regional public libraries and wrote a news release announcing an initiative whereby 29 branches would provide disaster preparedness materials to the public throughout National Preparedness Month.
The remnants of Isaac arrived in the region with much less than the hurricane strength he’d hit Louisiana and Mississippi with, just as National Preparedness Month began. His timely arrival made it easy to talk about expecting the unexpected in a place not usually concerned about the dangers of hurricanes.
The newly formed partnerships between Region VII and public libraries brought with it an invitation to participate in a Hispanic Festival at a local public library. Two External Affairs staff, including Mike Cappannari, the region’s relatively new External Affairs Officer, brought Flat Stanley and Stella coloring pages and set up an activity area for the children, a computer displaying www.Ready.gov and disaster preparedness materials in Spanish and English to hand out.
The partnership may be expanded in the future, but for now it’s now another way for everyone, including children, older Americans and vulnerable populations near participating librabries, to find valuable disaster preparedness information to protect themselves and their families.
Cedar Rapids Public Library, in Iowa, has this display of FEMA disaster preparedness materials at its library through National Preparedness Month 2012. The display also features Flat Stanley and Flat Stella posters. Kids are encouraged to color coloring pages of Flat Stanley and Stella that will be displayed in the library during September.
Overland Park, KS, September 1, 2012--Gracia O'Brien, 4, of Shawnee, left, and Diego Juarez, 5, of Overland Park, color Flat Stanley and Flat Stella coloring pages and learn about disaster preparedness during the Hispanic Festival at Johnson County's Public Library on the first day of National Preparedness Month.