Women Legislators & First Spouses Unite in Common Mission: Motivating Moms, Grandmothers, and Daughters to Lead American Safety Campaign

Atlanta – Women legislators and First Spouses will be invited this summer to lead a national grassroots movement to help Americans be prepared to survive and stay ‘in touch’ after a disaster.

Joined by First Spouses, members of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) are being asked to be educators in their state in a national campaign being launched this summer by the Safe America Foundation. Under the 9/11 Drill Down for Safety campaign, the program, known as March to 1 Million, aims to raise awareness of the need for every American to become their own first responder following a disaster.

“Women are the natural leaders of American families by helping to shape their communities’ agendas,” said Safe America President & CEO Len Pagano. “We want to enlist their voices – and hearts – in helping America be prepared to handle the kinds of emergencies we all expect – tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and even man-made incidents of mass destruction.”

More than 2,000 elected women will be trained to be community leaders, promoting our Text First. Talk Second.TM initiative—the use of texting, when voice communication is overwhelmed in disasters—and to teach a new safety shorthand – 7865 (RUOK) and 4665 (IMOK). The safety shorthand will be practiced during a national preparedness ‘drill day’ on Sunday, September 11, 2011.

Already, the State of Puerto Rico has plans to do an island-wide drill. Major firms, including Travelers, Motorola and UPS have offered to sponsor programs with their collective 500,000+ employees.

“Working in conjunction with the Emergency Managers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, we want to get local School Superintendents, PTA Chapters and small businesses involved in drilling each September. It’s a fitting legacy to those who died on 9/11, and it can help prevent a catastrophe from becoming more horrific,’ said Program Co-Sponsor, NFWL CEO Robin Read.

This summer, a special workshop at the NFWL’s annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa, will be held to help elected officials model practice texting drills within their own families. Women will also be advised on how to mobilize their own citizens during ‘Town Hall Meetings’ and will be filmed for TV spots that will be distributed to NBC, Telemundo and other local broadcast media.

At the same time we are asking First Spouses to issue a press release or proclamation on the importance of drills in being prepared in an emergency. First Spouses are also encouraged to engage their Governor in a texting drill to be role models for their state.

About 9/11 Drill Down for Safety Launched by Safe America in 2009, Drill Down promotes the planning and execution of emergency preparedness drills around America.  Taking place during National Emergency Preparedness Month, the goal is to help forge a national “culture of preparedness.”  This year, Safe America’s March to 1 Million initiative seeks to involve 1 million individuals in pledging to drill. For more information, visit safeamericaprepared.org.

About Safe America Foundation The Safe America Foundation is a Marietta, Georgia based 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to addressing emerging health and safety issues – at home, work and play.  Founded in 1994, the foundation develops educational programs in partnership with the academic, corporate, public and non-profit sectors.  For more information, visit www.safeamerica.org or call 770-973-7233.  Safe America can also be found on Twitter @safeamerica.

For more information, contact: Christina Dela Cruz Safe America Foundation Phone: (770) 973-7233 Email: Christina.Delacruz@safeamerica.org