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‘Aware Prepare’ Program Educates Residents Regarding Disaster Preparedness

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OSWEGO, NY – New York National Guard troops presented a session of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Citizen Preparedness Training Program at the SUNY Oswego Wednesday evening. The event was held in the Sheldon Hall ballroom.

The message of the New York State Civilian Preparedness Corps’ “Aware Prepare” program is be aware of your surroundings and be prepared in case a disaster strikes.

A large crowd listens to one of the presenters Wednesday night
A large crowd listens to one of the presenters Wednesday night

Governor Cuomo announced the the New York State Civilian Preparedness Corps’ training program at the beginning of this year with the goal of providing New Yorkers with the necessary training and preparation needed in emergency situations.

New York National Guard trainers, state and local emergency management officials present the seminars.

In Oswego, presenters offered some simple, common sense tips that people could use to protect and help their families, friends and communities in the event of a disaster.

A new initiative by New York State, the “Aware Prepare” program is an effort to educate and empower citizens in the event of serious emergencies, according to Peter Towse of the Army National Guard.

“This is a program we have been doing all around the state; from Long Island to Buffalo to Watertown and more,” he said..

The program itself is geared toward any emergency that could happen, but might not happen in your area. There have been a variety of emergencies in New York State over the years.

There have been ice storms, blizzards and wind storms to name a few.

The seminar showed people how to prepare for a disaster, how to make a plan, what to put in your house (preparedness kit) – it used to be 2 to 3 days, now it’s 7 to 10 days.

The seminar in Oswego is the 65th they have conducted around the state since February.

“On number 60, I think that’s when we hit 10,000 people taught, he noted. That’s pretty good. We started in February,” Towse told Oswego County Today.

There was an estimated 250 people in attendance Wednesday.

New York has experienced some of the most extreme weather in its history, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Kevin Gardner said. He cited the program, adding that it will help residents be better prepared in the case of an emergency – it will help build a stronger and safer New York.

Mike Kunzwiler, minority leader of the legislature, reiterated the chairman’s sentiments.

He thanked the National Guard and the governor for bringing the seminar to Oswego.

“It will train neighbors to help neighbors in the event of disaster,” he said. “As citizens, we need to be prepared.”

“The state has gone head to head with Mother Nature many times over the years,” Oswego Mayor Tom Gillen said. “Although Oswego has avoided the worst of it, just this month we were struck by a very powerful thunderstorm. So it is essential that we take a pro-active stand to ready ourselves, our businesses and our communities for what might come. You never know, you might just save someone’s life.”

Those attending the seminar received a Citizens Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit.
Those attending the seminar received a Citizens Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit.

He praised those in attendance for taking the time to learn how to better protect themselves and their communities.

“It’s great that they brought this seminar to Oswego. The more people are prepared, the better off they will be in an emergency situation,” said Dale Currier, director of the county’s Emergency Management Office. “Oswego County is very well prepared for just about any foreseeable incident. We are more prepared than some other areas. That the general public is getting an education on preparedness tonight helps to make us even more prepared.”

Currier added that he was pleased to see so many elected officials on hand for the event, representing the city, county and several towns.

Presenters explained that how taking the little steps now can pay big dividends later.

People should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes. A fire extinguisher is also a good thing to have on hand.

They were told to stock up on nonperishable foods, bottled water and personal hygiene products, basic tools, pet foods and other things.

It is a good idea to make an emergency plan and ensure all family members are familiar with it.

Each family attending the seminar received a free Citizens Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit.

They had an opportunity to ask questions of New York State emergency response officials in the second half of Wednesday’s program.

For more information on the program and emergency preparedness, visit www.prepare.ny.gov