New Jersey Assemblywoman and Homeland Security Chair Annette Quijano knows firsthand the importance of preparing communities for emergencies. The constant threat of manmade and natural disasters is a reminder that New Jersey residents can never be too prepared to tackle emergencies.
As a participant at NALEO’s first National Policy Institute on Emergency Planning in New Orleans, Assemblywoman Quijano was trained and given the tools necessary to better organize and equip her community in the event of an emergency. Assemblywoman Quijano credits the NALEO Policy Institute for contributing to her leadership abilities.
“As a legislator, I was able to obtain valuable information in the form of different models of community engagement that could increase preparedness among members of my community,” said Assemblywoman Quijano.
With a new arsenal of skills and networks, the Assemblywoman returned to New Jersey with an emergency preparedness initiative in mind.
Assemblywoman Quijano launched “Are You Ready?” in the fall of 2012 in partnership with United Way of Greater Union County and the American Red Cross. As part of National Preparedness Month, the emergency preparedness program included a series of workshops that trained individuals on how to identify risks, develop a family and communications plan, and assemble a disaster kit. Workshops were led by members of the New Jersey State Police and fire department who also distributed emergency “Go Bags” to participants.
Since its launch, “Are You Ready?” has trained over 1,000 New Jersey residents.
“The first emergency awareness event we organized was held shortly after Hurricane Irene made landfall in August 2011. As a result, members of our community were exceedingly better prepared when Superstorm Sandy made landfall.” said the Assemblywoman on the impact the program has had on her community.
The success of “Are You Ready?” has paved the way for more events throughout Assemblywoman Quijano’s legislative district aimed at addressing a variety of issues and age groups related to emergency preparedness. While more events are currently in the works, Assemblywoman Quijano continues to take cues from federal emergency officials and urges residents to take the following steps: 1. Get a kit 2. Make a plan 3. Be informed in the event of an unforeseen emergency.