Napolitano calls for increased readiness, resiliency

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urged government, communities and citizens to become more ready and resilient to face disasters ranging from terrorism to natural disasters to diseases.

In a speech Sept. 29, Napolitano emphasized measures undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as Citizen Corps in boosting readiness and resilience over the first nine months of the Obama administration.

Among those accomplishments has been the introduction of no-notice training drills, Napolitano said. To date, FEMA has held one such drill, where senior leaders must respond to an unfolding disaster scenario presented to them much like a student would face a pop quiz in class.

Meanwhile, Americans have accessed 40 million sets of preparedness instructions from the DHS website at, she added. DHS also has started a new weekly e-mail message to provide practical information to help families prepare for disasters.

Napolitano also called for increased community and personal preparedness to build readiness and resiliency across the United States. Boosting resilience would increase the plans, resources and capacity of communities to adapt to changes and emerge stronger whenever disasters strike, she said, according to a story posted by

An American Red Cross poll revealed that most Americans have given some thought to preparedness but far fewer have actually taken steps to prepare their families, Napolitano said. Few Americans believe they face the threat of disasters, she said, but they further believe that government-sponsored emergency personnel would show up and help them if they did.

"That attitude, more than anything, is what we must change."