In the press release listed below, the importance of public preparedness, planning for the entire community, and working together as a team to respond to and recover from emergencies was stressed by FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino, and DHS Assistant Security for Health Affairs Dr. Alexander Garza.

As stated by Dr. Garza, “At FEMA, we know that only by engaging every member of our team, from the entire federal family, to state and local officials, to the faith based and non-profit communities and especially the public, can we successfully respond to and recover from disasters.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Our staff believes that this effort for partnership in public preparedness fits well into the PS-Prep message of preparedness voiced many times on this website.

If applicable, please pass this press release information along to those business continuity, crisis management, emergency response and disaster recovery team members in your organization.

You can read the entire press release below;

October 13, 2010

No: HQ-10-199

Contact: FEMA News Desk 202-646-3272

News Release  

FEMA DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR RICH SERINO AND DHS ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AFFAIRS DR. ALEXANDER GARZA ADDRESS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE EMS OFFICIALS ABOUT PREPAREDNESS, IMPORTANCE OF WORKING AS A TEAM  

WASHINGTON – Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrator Rich Serino and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alexander Garza each addressed the 2010 Annual Meeting of the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO).  Deputy Administrator Serino spoke about the importance of public preparedness, planning for the entire community, and working together as a team to respond to and recover from emergencies.  Assistant Secretary Garza discussed how the Office of Health Affairs interfaces with EMS officials as part of their efforts to protect the American people from threat of terrorism and disasters.  

“FEMA is not the team, FEMA is only part of the team, and today provided me with a great opportunity to talk with a crucial member of our national emergency management team – state EMS officials,” said Deputy Administrator Serino.  “At FEMA, we know that only by engaging every member of our team, from the entire federal family, to state and local officials, to the faith based and non-profit communities and especially the public, can we successfully respond to and recover from disasters.  Every day, these state EMS officials are doing great work to keep their communities safe, and today was a chance to not only address them about what FEMA is doing, but also to hear from them about ways we can better support their critical efforts.”  

Dr. Garza also emphasized how DHS regards homeland security as a shared responsibility with partners at the state and local level.  “Resilient communities are a key element of homeland security,” Dr. Garza said, addressing the gathering.  “These important relationships with EMS officials are central to our efforts to build resilient communities, and we will continue to expand our coordination where possible.”  

Both Deputy Administrator Serino and Assistant Secretary Garza have extensive experience in emergency medical services.  Serino has more than 35 years’ experience in local emergency services – starting as a volunteer on the Boston ambulance squad and retiring last fall as Chief of Department of Boston EMS and Assistant Director of the Boston Public Health Commission.  Garza began his career as an EMT in 1986, and served as a paramedic in Kansas City, Mo., before attending medical school.

Today’s presentations are just the latest way in which DHS, including FEMA, is reaching out to all levels of government, non-profits, the faith based community, and especially the public to expand the definition of who is a part of the national emergency response team.  During their presentations, both Serino and Garza stressed the important role that the public plays in emergency preparedness and response.  To learn more, visit http://www.ready.gov/  

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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