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Site puts disaster info at schools' fingertips

A single source to obtain a range of information for disaster preparedness.

With hurricane season bearing down on the Southern states once again (Tropical Storm Alberto threatens to become a hurricane at post time), the nation's top emergency management officials now have a new resource for helping schools deal with disaster preparedness, reports eSchool News.

Ready-or-not.org is a low-cost, subscription-based website which consolidates an impressive array of content providers ranging from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the Mayo Clinic and the National Next of Kin Registry. Subscribers can create plans, protect family records, and access parent and teacher resources. They can also find resources for dealing with pets, reconnecting with far-flung relatives, and supporting family members with disabilities.

Subscribers can also customize the site by adding an array of community-specific resources such as evacuation shelters, emergency first aid services, food pantries, and water stations. "The was no reason New Orleans kids and their families had to be so devastated by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina," said Fred Campbell, managing director and founder of The Network IQ, the company that developed Ready-or-Not. "If there was time to give these storms names, there was time to get a response plan in action--and that did not happen." Schools typically play a central role in most emergency response plans. Giving schools access to all the resources from one website will raise disaster awareness and safeguard communities, the site's organizers say.

"What I like about the Ready-or-Not program is that it brings all the disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster recovery information together from so many different original sources," said John Polomano, superintendent of the Bordentown Regional School District in central New Jersey. "It is 'one-stop shopping' with everything centralized for easy use."