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U.S. Department of Homeland Security  

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Homeownership Alliance Release Emergency Preparedness Guide for Homeowners

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge joined Homeownership Alliance President Rick Davis (left), Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Ken Bacon (center),and Independent Community Bankers of America Executive Vice President Karen Thomas (right) in Washington, DC. DHS Photo/Barry Bahler
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge joined Homeownership Alliance President Rick Davis (left), Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Ken Bacon (center),and Independent Community Bankers of America Executive Vice President Karen Thomas (right) in Washington, DC. DHS Photo/Barry Bahler
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010
January 26, 2005

Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge today joined Homeownership Alliance President Rick Davis and Habitat for Humanity International Vice President Tom Jones to release the Emergency Preparedness Guide (PDF, 9 pages - 596 KB), a valuable new resource for homeowners. The guide, unveiled during an event at Habitat for Humanity International’s "Congress Building America" home in Washington, D.C., is the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Homeownership Alliance.

“The Emergency Preparedness Guide gives homeowners practical measures they can take now to prepare themselves, their families, and their homes for any possible emergencies,” said Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. “We are pleased to join the Homeownership Alliance and Habitat for Humanity in this important effort.”

The Homeownership Alliance produced the Emergency Preparedness Guide and will distribute copies of it through the local offices of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Local NAR offices will include the guide in their closing day materials for new homeowners. In addition, the Alliance will provide Habitat for Humanity International with copies of the Emergency Preparedness Guide to distribute to its new homeowners.

The publication, which is based on the recommendations of the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready campaign, outlines the simple steps homeowners can take to prepare for an emergency. The guide includes information on:

  • Emergency supplies
  • Effective emergency plans for families
  • Various threats homeowners may face
  • Resources available to homeowners through DHS, the Homeownership Alliance and local government and community officials

The Emergency Preparedness Guide is the latest effort by Homeland Security’s Ready campaign, to encourage Americans to prepare for potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do three key things: get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.

Launched in February 2003 by Homeland Security and the Ad Council, the Ready campaign is designed to educate and empower individuals to prepare for and respond to potential terrorist attacks and other emergencies. The goal of the campaign is to get Americans involved and, ultimately, to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation. Since its launch, more than 210 million people have seen or read about Ready and its website has received over 1.8 billion hits. Individuals interested in receiving a “Get Ready Now” brochure may call 1-800-BE-READY or visit Ready.gov for more information.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Homeownership Alliance is a coalition of more than fifteen organizations committed to ensuring support for the American housing system. Members include Consumer Federation of America, The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, The Enterprise Foundation, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Community Bankers of America, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Mortgage Brokers, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, National Association of Realtors®, World Floor Covering Association, National Bankers Association, National Council of La Raza, and National Urban League.

Habitat for Humanity International, based in Americus, Ga., is an ecumenical Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. By the end of 2005, Habitat will have built its 200,000th house and more than one million people will be living in Habitat homes they helped build.

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Remarks by Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge Announcing the Emergency Preparedness Guide for Homeowners

Washington, D.C.
January 26, 2005
(Remarks as Prepared)

Thank you, Tom, for that kind introduction.  During the last three years, we have spoken often about protecting our nation – protecting our states – protecting our cities.  Today we’d like to reiterate the importance of protecting our homes.  Our mission to prevent, prepare for, and respond to terrorist attacks and other emergencies is a national mission that requires every citizen’s effort.  Therefore, the protection of our country must start with every home.  We cannot protect the homeland if we do not protect the hometown; we cannot protect the hometown until we protect the home.

Some citizens might think: we’ll leave preparedness and protection to the professionals – first responders, law enforcement, governors and mayors – much the way a person might leave the plumbing, painting or electrical jobs in their homes to professionals.  Well, what we have been saying, and will continue to say, is that you cannot hire out the protection of your home and family; it is a personal hands-on job.  So we are pleased to join the Homeownership Alliance today to announce the Emergency Preparedness Guide for homeowners.  This guide will give homeowners the information they need to prepare for any emergency and protect their most cherished assets: their homes and their families.

During the past 3 years, people have asked us, “How can I help?  What can I do?”  Well there are many things citizens can do.  Our Ready Campaign, for example, educates and encourages citizens to do three key things to prepare for an emergency: one, get an emergency supply kit; two, make a family emergency plan; and three, be informed.  Together with the Homeownership Alliance, we will work to further spread this important message by providing the Emergency Preparedness Guide to new homeowners across the nation.

A perfect example of the need to be ready is what happened up in Massachusetts this weekend.  Some areas received 38 inches of snow.  Many areas lost power.  As of yesterday, 500 homes still had no power.  People are still stuck inside or outside of their homes.  Those who prepared, however – those who had supplies such as food, water, flashlights, warm clothes, a generator – weathered that storm.  Those who did not probably had a tougher time.  

We know all too well that blizzards and hurricanes, as well as terrorist attacks, can occur anytime.  So at all times, the key is – be prepared.  Many thanks to the Homeownership Alliance for their partnership and assistance in developing the Emergency Preparedness Guide.  It’s a wonderful tool to help citizens determine how to prepare for different threats, whether wrought by disaster or by design.  Through this effort, the Homeownership Alliance has offered a great example of how government and private sector partners can work together toward a common goal: to protect our citizens and our homeland.  

Finally, let me extend my thanks to Habitat for Humanity and the other organizations that helped build this home.  The same hands that came together here to build a solid foundation for one family’s future happiness will be the same hands that come together to protect an even sturdier structure than the homes you build: freedom.

Held together by neither nails nor wood nor steel, but by the commitment, courage and collaborative spirit shared by all of you, freedom’s foundation will unify and strengthen us and our future generations for years to come.

Thank you.