Young Advocate for Youth Emergency Preparedness
Determined to disseminate a solid emergency preparedness message for young audiences, Gabriela Rodriguez-Boria embarked on an ambitious initiative to make communities in Puerto Rico more emergency resilient through its budding members. With her project REACT, Gabriela became the representative from Region II to the National Youth Council, where she seeks opportunities to prepare youngsters to be ready before and after a disaster strikes.
Presentations, games and basic first aid kits are part of the workshop she initially developed for her school district and that would eventually reach every district in Puerto Rico. Small REACT committees will be created in each school or institution to support the work that Gabriela started. At the end of the project, which must conclude in two years, all Region II jurisdictions should be involved in this effort.
“This is a great responsibility and honor. My duties as a volunteer go far beyond learning about preparedness. Every volunteer should share this readiness information with others, helping each neighbor and family member to be better prepared for any emergency or disaster,” explained Gabriela.
Gabriela attends a private high school in the municipality of Humacao, where she is organizing a Teen CERT team of approximately 15-20 students. She would also like to expand this program to other schools in neighboring communities.
A volunteer for her local American Red Cross, she helps organize fire and tsunami drills and collects food and other donations. She is also an active volunteer with the American Heart Association and assists with the coordination of regular preventive activities.
On August 6 – 7, 2012, Gabriela joined other members of FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council in their inaugural meeting in Washington, DC to discuss steps meant to strengthen the nation’s resiliency against all types of disasters. This Council is comprised of 13 youth leaders (13 – 17 years of age) from each of FEMA’s ten regions. During these meetings, the Council met with Administrator Fugate and other federal and private sector partners that support youth preparedness during national disasters.
Recently, during the Youth Council’s first webinar, Gabriela learned that REACT is further developed than the rest of the Projects in the Council. Also, she was the first one to register her school in the upcoming PR Great Shake Out event, which will occur on October 18, 2012.
To learn more about FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts please visit: http://www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/youth/youthindex.shtm.
To learn more about each council member visit: http://www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/youth/youthpreparednesscouncil.shtm.
FEMA Region II and SAIC Hosts Prepositioned Equipment Program (PEP) Open House
Story by: Terence B. Hoey, CPP, PSP, FEMA RII, Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL)
FEMA RII along with partners from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) hosted an open house on May 20, 2011 at SAIC’s Orange County, New York location that highlighted the Prepositioned Equipment Program (PEP). Attended by 75 law enforcement and emergency management professionals from 36 agencies, including two international visitors from St. John, Canada, this event was a major success. Representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Secret Service (USSS), Federal Protective Service (FPS), Veterans Administration (VA), New York State Police (NYSP), New York State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), New York City Police Department (NYPD), New York City Fire Department (FDNY), New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), Department of Defense (DOD), and other law enforcement and emergency management professionals from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were some of the agencies who attended.
The Nation faces a continuing threat of attack with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruc¬tion (WMD). To prepare for this threat, State and local of¬ficials must have resources immediately avail¬able to sustain and replenish assets depleted by the initial response to a major attack. The September 11th, 2001 attack demonstrated that an incident of terrorism can rapidly deplete local supplies and equipment. While many State and local jurisdictions have purchased new equipment in the aftermath of September 11th, it is unrealistic to expect that all jurisdictions can be fully equipped to provide an adequate, sustained response to a major terrorist incident.
To meet critical needs and FEMA launched the Prepositioned Equipment Pro¬gram (PEP). PEP consists of standardized equipment pods that are prepositioned in select geographic areas to permit rapid deploy¬ment to States and localities. Highly special¬ized equipment and frequently used off-the-shelf items are stored in pods, transportable by land or air after help is requested. This equip¬ment is specifically tailored to sustain and reconstitute the capabilities of local and State first responders.
Strategically placed throughout the country, 10 Prepositioned Equipment Pods are available to respond to an incident in any major population area across the continental U.S. within 12 hours. PEP provides for immediate ground or air transportation of the first pod, as well as a team of support staff. If circumstances warrant a greater level of support, FEMA may dispatch additional fully-equipped pods. Some of the specialized equipment includes, but is not limited to: personal protective; detection; decontamination; search; medical; communication; and additional supplies and items such as batteries, goggles, logistics, and support equipment and fit test equipment.
Chris White, District Representative for U.S. Congressman Maurice D. Hinchey was on hand with New York State Senator John J. Bonacic. They both commended John Ehlich, the onsite SAIC Team Leader and Joseph Niehaus, SAIC Vice President for the impressive PEP operation. In addition, Chris White and State Senator Bonacic recognized FEMA RII Federal Preparedness Coordinator Jaime Forero and Deputy Federal Preparedness Coordinator David Musick for all FEMA’s efforts, programs, and initiatives throughout the region.