Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), in collaboration with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), today hosted an Interfaith Hurricane Preparedness Workshop at the Providence Career and Technical Academy to advise and involve local faith-based community organizations in strategic planning to prepare, respond and to recover from disasters and emergencies.
“Our primary goal is to make neighborhoods across Providence stronger and safer through strategic planning so that we can respond rapidly and efficiently to any upcoming crisis or emergency,” said Mayor Elorza. “We are working collaboratively with key community stakeholders who are most familiar with the challenges our residents face, such as our faith-based organizations, to make Providence a more secure and resilient city.”
Speakers for the workshop included Mayor Elorza, PEMA director Colonel Michael Borg, the Reverend David Myers, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Homeland Security, and the Reverend John Wheeler, a team leader with the Disaster Behavioral Response Team of Rhode Island.
With the number and severity of weather-related disasters on the rise, the workshop brought individuals, faith based organizations, and community leaders together to take action and prepare for possible hurricanes through group discussions and activities. Attendees also participated in a hurricane scenario exercise during the afternoon session to assess current procedures and capabilities.
A recent FEMA survey found that nearly 60 percent of American adults have not practiced what to do in a disaster by participating in a disaster drill or preparedness exercise at work, school, or home in the past year. Less than half of these adults have developed an emergency plan and discussed it with their household.
In response to this survey, PEMA is encouraging residents to take action and prepare a family emergency communications plan, an emergency kit for their home, and to sign up for CodeRED, Providence’s Emergency Mass Notification System.