Friday, April 20, 2012

First Lady Dianne Bentley Releases PSA to Highlight Severe Weather Preparedness Plan

MONTGOMERY- With the one year anniversary of the April 27th tornadoes approaching, First Lady Dianne Bentley on Friday joined with representatives from Safe America Foundation, Verizon Wireless, and Be Ready Alabama to release a public service announcement regarding a way to prepare Alabamians for future emergencies.

“Text First, Talk Second” encourages people to text to one another in the aftermath of severe weather or a disaster in order to keep phone lines clear for the most urgent of calls. In the aftermath of a disaster, individuals are encouraged to text the words “RUOK” and respond with “IMOK” or “HELP.”

“After the tornadoes ravaged Alabama last spring, we all realized the importance of having an established plan in place for safety,” Mrs. Bentley said. “Together with Safe America, I am honored to promote the "Text First Talk Second" campaign, a program that utilizes text technology to contact loved ones during emergency situations. A text message will go through before a call, so if my generation and others will learn to text, not only will we be able to reach one another sooner, but we will also keep phone lines open for other emergency calls.”

The Safe America Foundation was chartered in 1994 to partner with corporate, governmental, public and private sector organizations, and other non-profits to improve the safety awareness and preparedness of Americans nationwide. Preparedness for a national catastrophe, whether manmade or natural, took on a new meaning after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the foundation responded to meet the needs of Americans.

Safe America seeks to build truly safer communities by forming public/private partnerships that can rapidly respond to emerging critical issues and to protect Americans from future disasters through common preparedness.

CEO of The Safe America Foundation, Len Pagano, says texting is the most efficient means of communicating during a disaster, especially when the phone lines may be busy or not in use.

 “In today’s environment, where emergencies seem to be always around the corner, it’s critical for people to be prepared to stay in touch when phones lines are overtaxed,” Pagano said. “Texting is a good alternative to voice communications and is 800 times more likely to connect you. That’s why we’ve made it such an important part of our Foundation’s preparedness messaging.”

Verizon Wireless, which has partnered with Mrs. Bentley on a prior public service project, has a dedicated commitment to Alabama’s storm recovery. A corporate sponsor  of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham’s Bama Rising Fund for Tornado Recovery, Verizon Wireless saw the “Text First, Talk Second” as a perfect opportunity to further their community support.

“Verizon Wireless works year-round to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies so that our customers can count on their wireless service when they need it most,” Jonathan LeCompte, president – Georgia/Alabama region, Verizon Wireless said. “We are honored to be working with First Lady Bentley to help Alabamians know how to best communicate with each other in the midst of a crisis.”

Jon Mason, the Director of the Governor’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, believes that partnering with Safe America, Alabamians can practice more efficient means of coordinating an emergency response.

“The confusion immediately following disasters can lead to misinformation and slower response times for those in need,” Mason said. “By communicating with your friends and family by text vs. a call, you can help first responders and volunteer groups serve more survivors.”
The public service announcement is available on the FTP site:
Right click on the version needed and download it to a desktop or computer for replay.
The public service announcement will run through April 30, 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment