The following material was prepared by Elena Sabin
Looking out over a room filled with 150 people eager to learn how to help those with disabilities in our community prepare is a pretty exciting experience.
On September 6, the American Red Cross had the pleasure of taking part in the All Ready Summit held at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur. We’ve been a part of the All Ready campaign, which is funded through the St. Louis Area Regional Response System (STARRS) for a couple of years now, and it was exciting to see the hard work of the group made up of partners from around the region come together.
During the All Ready Summit, the Red Cross trained participants from 75 organizations, many of which serve people with disabilities, to take back the preparedness message and help those they work with to think about how they can prepare themselves if there is an emergency. The participants were also involved in a working session in which they discussed the needs and resources among their organizations and communities, compiling best practices into the consensus statement which may serve as a guide for the general public on how best to address emergency preparedness in the St. Louis area.
One thing we knew was that people with disabilities were not receiving the information or the information that they were receiving didn’t really apply to them. Over the last year, I met with people at several different agencies that work with people with disabilities to gain perspectives on what people would need. It was an eye-opening experience, and I am so excited with what we were able to come up with. Having the opportunity to share this information with people who are going to be able to help us get that message out makes it all the more worth it. By encouraging those with disabilities to take steps to prepare themselves we are helping the whole community.
At the end of the day, the participants signed commitment cards to spread the preparedness message, and I for one cannot wait to see what the energy of those who were in the room is able to accomplish!
All Ready is an emergency preparedness initiative designed to help the St. Louis region better anticipate and prepare for emergencies through the individual preparedness efforts of residents. This effort combines resources from emergency preparedness experts around the region and nation in a single place to make preparing for emergencies simple. Through All Ready, residents can learn about and implement the three simple steps to emergency preparedness: 1) Make a plan. 2) Get a kit. 3) Be informed. Learn more at www.AllReadySTL.com.