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Ridge Calls Public Response to DHS Preparedness Campaign 'Overwhelming"

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2003 – Millions of Americans have responded to the Department of Homeland Security's preparedness program for possible acts of terrorism, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge told a U.S. Senate committee today.

Launched Feb. 19, the "Ready Campaign" urges Americans to gird for possible terrorist attacks by assembling emergency preparedness kits, making communications plans and staying informed.

"The public response has been overwhelming," Ridge told Senate Judiciary Committee members during Capitol Hill hearing to gauge how the homeland is fairing in the war against global terrorism.

Citizens can access information on effective ways to prepare for emergencies by calling 1-800-BEREADY, or accessing the DHS Web site, www.ready.gov.

The Web site, Ridge noted, has received more than 2.5 million visits daily since becoming operational.

Preparedness kits should consist of a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water, a radio, flashlights, fresh batteries, a first-aid kit and a supply of necessary prescription medications.

The citizens' preparedness program "provides immediate and practical guidance to the millions of Americans, who, to their credit, know that preparation makes sense and saves lives," Ridge concluded.

Twenty-two formerly separate federal agencies were officially merged March 1 to form the Department of Homeland Security.

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