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Frequently Asked Questions

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Emergency Preparedness

Q: What is the best way to be prepared for all hazards emergencies?
Play it smart. Preparing for emergencies doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but it brings you peace of mind. Three simple steps can help you and your Family prepare for all hazards—Build a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed.

Be Informed—Emergencies can arise from weather and other natural hazards, industrial and transportation accidents, disease epidemics and terrorist acts. Anticipate the emergencies most likely to affect you and your Family and learn about related procedures including mass warning and notification and the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS). Being informed also means knowing first aid and appropriate response measures. Knowing what to do can make all the difference when seconds count.

Make a Plan—You and your Family members may not be together when an emergency strikes. Planning ahead for various emergencies will improve your chances of keeping in touch, staying safe and quickly reuniting.

Build a Kit—Assemble a collection of first aid supplies, food, water, medicines and important papers to sustain you and your Family until a crisis passes. Consider the unique needs of your family and pets, then assemble emergency supply kits in your home, car and workplace.

Get Involved—Prepared individuals build stronger communities. In an emergency, you may be
in a position to provide help to not only your family, but to those in your community.
Learn how to receive training, how to volunteer, and how to share your knowledge
and skills with others.

Q: What items should I put in my emergency kit?

A: For an emergency kit, collect enough supplies to last for at least three days. Keep a kit prepared at home, and consider also having kits in your car and at work and a portable version in your home ready to take with you. These kits will enable you and your Family to respond to an emergency more quickly, whether you have to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Also take into consideration whether your area is likely to face a specific threat, and purchase items accordingly. For a list of suggested items, download the Emergency Kit Fact Sheet.

Q: What is a Family Emergency Plan? How do I make one?

A: Your Family also should have a plan for who you will call and where you will go if there is an emergency. When creating a Family emergency plan, consider the range of potential emergencies and all the places you and your Family might be. Talk to your children about what will happen if they are in school at the time of the emergency, and make sure they understand where you intend to be.

Army Families, in particular, need to know what to do if an emergency occurs particularly when their Soldier is deployed. In case you can’t reach each other directly by phone or email, have an out-of-state friend or relative you can both contact to leave word that you’re okay and learn the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System (ADPAAS) to ensure you are ready to report your status. Soldiers downrange need the peace of mind that their family is safe so they can focus on their mission at hand.

Discuss your plan with the Family and set up practice evacuations or shelter-in-place drills to ensure everyone knows what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.

Recommended information for a Family Emergency Plan can be found in Emergency Preparedness for the Army Community.

Q: I have pets. How can I prepare for them in an emergency?

A: When you and your Family consider plans and provisions for emergencies, be sure to take your pets and other animals into account. Creatures that rely on us in the best of times can’t help themselves when disaster strikes. Good advance planning could prevent tragedy, worry and the risks you or others might take to affect a rescue.

Know in advance how you will handle your pets if you need to evacuate. Also, your emergency supply kit should also contain provisions for pets, including food and water, a strong leash, a carrier and veterinary records. Make sure your pets’ identification tags are up to date and secured on their collars, and consider microchipping your pets. If you have advance warning of an emergency, add a tag with your evacuation information.

For additional information on preparing your pets, download the Pets Plan Fact Sheet.

Q: What does shelter-in-place mean?

A: Sheltering-in-place means to take temporary protection in a structure or vehicle that is not certified, insured or staffed for emergency conditions. Installation procedures designate which office or party will order personnel to shelter-in-place and for how long the order stays in effect.

Preparing to shelter-in-place involves having an emergency kit, being able to turn off heating and ventilation systems quickly and identifying potential interior spaces for sheltering-in-place. Notification of an emergency may be through a voice announcing system, announcements through cellular phones or e-mail, or an Emergency Alert System broadcast over radio or TV.

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Ready Army Community Awareness Communication Campaign

Q: What is Ready Army?

A: Ready Army is the Army’s proactive community awareness campaign to empower our Soldiers, their Families and Army Civilians to prepare for all hazard emergencies. Through outreach and education, Ready Army calls our Army Community to action and aims to create a culture of preparedness that will save lives and strengthen the nation.

Q: When did Ready Army begin?

A: Ready Army launched worldwide in September 2008 to coincide with National Preparedness Month.

Q: Why Ready Army?

A: An era of persistent conflict requires persistent vigilance to prepare the Army Community at home and abroad. The increased use of asymmetric tactics in modern conflict, and the potential for natural crises such as Pandemic Influenza or Hurricane Katrina, demonstrate the need for comprehensive preparedness efforts in advance of any emergency. Readiness begins with awareness. All Citizens, not just Soldiers, need to be well-informed and prepared for emergencies.

Q: What has the Army done?

A: The Army recognizes the full spectrum of threats that face our Soldiers and Families in the 21st century. As we strive to restore balance, increase the readiness of our Force, and improve the quality of life for our Soldiers and Families, Ready Army offers the tools to prepare the centerpiece of our Army for challenging times.

Ready Army is partnered with the Department of Homeland Security’s national “Ready” campaign and expands the preparedness message to support the unique needs of our Soldiers and Families stationed around the world. Ready Army fact sheets, posters, booklets, press kits and multimedia resources cover 25 diverse man-made and natural threats, and provide information on requirements and resources specific to the Army (including the Army Disaster Personnel Accountability and Assessment System).

The Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Sergeant Major of the Army released a joint letter of support for Ready Army. Our senior leaders ask for Ready Army to become a prominent and active part of life on installations and within Army organizations.

Q: How is Ready Army reaching the Army Community?

A: Installations worldwide are hosting Ready Army events including signing ceremonies with local community leaders, safety fairs, first aid training, family briefings and school based activities. Off installation, the Ready Army message is reaching Army Families through media and local partnerships with community groups and emergency preparedness and response organizations. For example, the city of Killeen, Texas has partnered with local installation Fort Hood, to bring Ready Army materials into the community.

Q: Who oversees Ready Army and how was it developed?

A: Ready Army was developed by Headquarters Department of the Army, Emergency Management Branch. The campaign expands upon the national Ready campaign from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Ad Council to provide targeted information to support the unique needs of our Army Community stationed around the world. Ready Army materials and messaging are consistent with the DHS Ready campaign, The Red Cross and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Army specific messaging has been developed in coordination with the respective Army experts and communicators.

Q: What is the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready campaign?

A: Ready was established following the events of September 11, 2001 and has become the most successful campaign in 65-year history of the Ad Council earning over $700 million in media support. As of July 31, 2008, the Web site has received more than 2.2 billion hits and 29.8 million unique visitors; the toll-free numbers have received more than 349,000 calls; and more than 27.7 million Ready materials have been requested or downloaded from the Web site.

Q: Why is Ready Army important to Soldiers and Families?

A: Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. Ready Army provides the tool-kit and standardized checklists for emergency preparedness at home and abroad. When Soldiers, their Families and Army Civilians know what to do when an emergency strikes, it saves time, property and—most importantly—lives.

The strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their Families. In recent interviews, Ready Army participants stated that Ready Army provides a sense of empowerment for those at home and peace of mind to forward deployed Soldiers.

Q: Why is Ready Army important to the Army?

A: Persistent conflict requires the continuous protection of the Army Community, at home and abroad. The increased use of asymmetric tactics in modern conflict, and the potential for natural crises such as Pandemic Influenza or Hurricane Katrina demonstrate the need for comprehensive preparedness efforts in advance of any emergency.

Preparedness increases the resilience of the Army and supports our overall installation and Force readiness. It mitigates the effects of an emergency, aids recovery, and is a time and resource multiplier for our emergency first responders and medical first receivers. The health of the entire force, including families, is vitally important to the Army’s strength and victory over America’s adversaries.

Ultimately, Ready Army supports our Soldiers and Families and strengthens the Nation. Preparing for tomorrow's hazards is a readiness issue; readiness allows Soldiers to stay properly focused on their mission. The Army is proud to offer this support to Soldiers and Families and encourages everybody to Be Informed, Make A Plan, Build A Kit and Be Informed.

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