New Homeland Security Response Network Promotes Preparedness and Mobilizes Citizens for Challenges Ahead

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Grassroots Network of Citizens and Community and Government Leaders Take on the Challenge of Readiness

Considering the leaps and bounds made with modern technology, it's disconcerting that we're probably less prepared for a major crisis in our communities and our nation than we were just a generation or two ago

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While many U.S. citizens fear terrorist attacks and other threats to homeland security, very few are aware of basic emergency plans or strategies that could potentially save their lives, and the lives of those around them in the event of an attack or disaster. To help better equip citizens with the knowledge and resources they need to become more prepared, the creators of the National Terror Alert Response Center have launched the Homeland Security Response Network, an online, collaborative community of concerned citizens, and government and community leaders. The network is designed to promote discourse and community involvement, and help to create safer, more secure communities, with an emphasis on engaging citizens at the community level.

The Homeland Security Response Network is the first online, social networking community designed to foster interaction and dialogue between government officials, community and organization leaders and citizens. The site's primary goals are to leverage technology and social media in preparing and organizing communities, and to bridge the gap between community preparedness and government preparedness. The developer of the site also hopes the Homeland Security Response Network will reintroduce preparedness into the national educational curriculum, and reenergize neighborhood and community preparedness partnerships and programs.

Since the launch of the site this week, more than 1,200 members have registered, and created profiles on the site. The site currently features videos, forums, chat rooms, blogs, event listings and a Preparedness Info page. The page contains a list of preparedness brochures outlining tips, resources and action plans to help prepare individuals for a variety of emergency situations or disasters, including wildfires, hijackings, hostage situations, public shootings, bomb threats and biological attacks. The site will also offer preparedness videos with similar information available for free download that can be used by school administrators, community organizers and other groups committed to promoting preparedness through awareness, education, community involvement and partnerships between individuals, groups and organizations.

In addition to serving as a comprehensive resource site, the Homeland Security Response Network is also a virtual town hall, intended to facilitate questions, feedback and consistent participation from its members. Recent topics featured and discussed on the site include: how to survive a nuclear attack; how to prepare an emergency bag; checking emergency preparedness for recalled items; and the importance and correlation between donating blood and disaster preparedness.

"Considering the leaps and bounds made with modern technology, it's disconcerting that we're probably less prepared for a major crisis in our communities and our nation than we were just a generation or two ago," said Martin Jones, developer of the Homeland Security Response Network. "In an actual crisis, it will not be how quickly the government responds that will determine the impact and outcome, but how well the community and individuals respond that will make the difference. The community will be first on scene in the moments and hours that are most critical."

Martin Jones has served on the President's Council on Y2K and as a disaster services volunteer for the American Red Cross. He is also the founder and publisher of a leading authority site on the web for homeland security news and information with a monthly readership of more than 250,000. He created the Homeland Security Response Network largely due to the number of subscribers who expressed an interest in taking a more active role in homeland security.

"The tragic events on September 11 forced our governmental agencies to be more diligent, but very few changes have been made at the community level," said Jones. "The best insurance for a safe and secure nation is a well informed and prepared citizenry. It's our hope that the Homeland Security Response Network will equip and prepare citizens for the challenges ahead, and help build a network of safer, stronger communities."

The Homeland Security Response Network has plans to enhance several additional features in the upcoming months, including Intellispace Live Incident, an online command center that helps citizens monitor events in real time, and Prepared Communities, a larger network of sites organized by city to give community members easier access to their local resources. The site will also participate in National Preparedness Month in September.

For more information on the Homeland Security Response Network, or to become a member, visit Homeland Security Response Network

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