Charlotte, N.C., May 18, 2000 -- NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kenny Irwin and BellSouth announced today their extended partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) initiative Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities. Irwin will serve as spokesperson for BellSouth and FEMA to educate Americans about the importance of disaster prevention. With hurricane season beginning June 1, Irwin is reaching out to NASCAR fans to inform them that fast action could and should be taken to protect their homes and businesses from disasters and disruptions ranging from hurricanes to technology crashes.
"A key aspect of Project Impact is reaching out to people all across America," said FEMA Director James L. Witt. "This partnership with Kenny Irwin and BellSouth allows us to connect with the NASCAR fans and provide them with the tools and information they need to build stronger safer communities."
Through their Lifeline partnership, BellSouth and FEMA have been working together to educate Americans on the importance of planning ahead for the unexpected. Many Americans still need to take steps to protect their homes from disaster. And nearly one-third of U.S. businesses are completely unprepared to deal with any type of business disruption, ranging from hurricanes to e-mail viruses.
"Prevention is the key to surviving any disaster," said Kenny Irwin, driver of the No. 42 BellSouth Chevrolet. "NASCAR fans are concentrated in a region often hurt by disasters such as hurricanes and floods. By helping to spread this message of prevention, we can help protect the communities that have made racing the number one spectator sport in America. "
As spokesperson for FEMA and BellSouth's disaster prevention message, Irwin will speak to various business and community groups about preventive measures and business continuity planning. Throughout the NASCAR season, he will also recognize individuals and businesses making a difference in building disaster-resistant communities. "Together, we encourage all Americans to prepare their families, homes and workplaces to protect them from catastrophe," said Irwin.
To focus attention on disaster prevention, Irwin is introducing a new paint scheme highlighting the Lifeline initiatives and FEMA Project Impact on the car he will drive in NASCAR's all-star race, The Winston. The race takes place at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., on May 20.
North Carolina was one of the states most severely affected by last year's record-breaking hurricane season. Hurricanes Bret, Dennis, Floyd, Irene and Lenny created 19 hurricane disasters in 14 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1999.
"Surprisingly, natural disasters account for a mere 5 percent of business disruptions while the majority of disruptions are attributed to causes such as human error and technology," said Jack McMahon, vice president and general manager with BellSouth. "This indicates how important it is that companies and their employees be prepared to deal with any type of disruption. By taking preventive actions now, we can improve the safety and productivity of individuals, businesses and the community as a whole."
Hurricane season begins June 1. For NASCAR fans, and any home or business threatened by hurricanes, FEMA and BellSouth recommend:
At Your Home
- Installing hurricane straps and storm shutters on windows
- Ensuring roof is reinforced with straps and bracing
- Reinforcing garage doors
- Trimming dead or weak branches from trees and keeping debris clear of the property
- Ensuring fixed ...