I know you all already get too much emailÂ (including, for some of you,Â the weekly summaryÂ of this blog). AndÂ the idea of getting any more, particularly from the Department of Homeland Security, mayÂ not sound on first blushÂ very enticing
However, if you are interested in citizen preparedness — or for that matter any aspect ofÂ homeland securityÂ –Â IÂ suggest you go to DHS atÂ www.dhs.gov/xutil/gc_1193765609028.shtmÂ orÂ FEMA atÂ http://www.fema.gov/help/getemail.shtmÂ to check the list ofÂ more than 100 separateÂ freeÂ subscriptions available coveringÂ almost everyÂ area the agencies are involved in. You can getÂ press releases, speeches, congressional testimony, disaster declarationsÂ and even job openings — organized by subject, geography, agency, etc. (I also signed up forÂ a few from the Transportation Security Administration.)
You can get the whole packageÂ or order them a la carte. From experience,Â IÂ recommend the latter.Â However, I do suggestÂ browsing all the offerings, because I guarantee you’ll find some list you’ll want to join. For me, it is a great wayÂ of keeping apprised of news and eventsÂ in an unfiltered way.Â Â Of course, the lack of any filter (ie. theÂ media)Â has its benefits and drawbacks. But it is a new resource that is worth tapping for those interested in the subject.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
One of the lists IÂ signed upÂ for is the U.S.Â Fire Administration’s (USFA)Â fire fighterÂ fatality notification whichÂ comes after theÂ ’in the line of duty’ death of any fire service personnel nationwide. ItÂ is a poignant reminder, on almost a weekly basis, of theÂ commitment and sacrifice of our first responders.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to interviewÂ FEMA policy head, Marko Bourne, a former fire fighter himself,Â pointed out to me that there were a number of lessons we could learn about public emergency preparedness from the way the nation approached publicÂ fire safety. One way, for example, isÂ that whenever there was a fire related death in a community, the USFA makes sure to contact the local media to try to make it a ‘teaching opportunity’. It was a comment that I thought about this week when a couple of my fellow CERT members suggested the need for quick turnaround preparedness education after the crane collapse.