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ReallyReady.org - a better DHS site

Federation of American Scientists urges DHS to adopt their alternative, created in nine weeks by an intern, as the online resource for readiness.
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Written by ZDNet Editors, Contributors on

Carolyn O'Hara, writing on Foreign Policy's Passport, points to a nifty experiment in corrective web design.

The Federation of American Scientists, unhappy with the "inadequate" redesign of the Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov site, released an alternative site ReallyReady.org - same information, better writing, presentation and ease of use. FAS also includes a critique of DHS' work.

  • Generic Advice - Many recommendations provided by the Ready campaign guidelines are not applicable to specific scenarios.
  • Disabled and Special Needs - There are only twenty-one lines of generic information describing how to prepare for an emergency if you are disabled.
  • Chemical Attacks - The following advice is incorrect:
    “If you can't get out of the building [under chemical attack] or find clean air without passing through the area where you see signs of a chemical attack, it may be better to move as far away as possible and ‘shelter-in-place.'"
    This response is appropriate for outdoor chemical attacks, but not for chemical attacks inside. Sealing a room and “sheltering-in-place” could trap you with poisonous chemicals.

There's plenty more. And there's this, from O'Hara:

What's even better about the whole project is that, whereas the DHS spent millions of taxpayer dollars and took five months to put the Web site into operation, the new ReallyReady site was completed in nine weeks by a 20-year-old FAS intern for the price of the site domain name.

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