Gayle Manchin Helps Lead Preparedness Drive For Second Year
Safe America Foundation is seeking to engage First Spouses in all 50 states, in its “Text First. Talk Second”, emergency preparedness initiative, for the second year.
Championed by former First Lady of West Virginia, Gayle Manchin, First Spouses in the following states participated in the 9/11 Drill Down for Safety program in 2010: West Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, New Jersey, Iowa, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. These First Spouses showed their support in the following ways: filming preparedness PSA’s, conducting texting drills, issuing proclamations and press releases and attending meetings.
Highlights from the program last year include a stadium texting drill at the West Virginia University vs. Marshall University football game, led by then First Lady Gayle Manchin. Other key features were ads in USA Today and on ION Television Stations in key cities nationwide, featuring Mrs. Manchin encouraging individuals to “text” in an emergency. First Lady of Kentucky, Jane Bashear, issued a proclamation supporting Safe America’s Drill Down for Safety Campaign, while other first spouses carried out their pledge to drill.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, and building on last year’s success, Gayle Manchin will be helping to recruit First Spouses of Governors in key states to serve as Regional Honorary Spokespersons. Safe America seeks the involvement of all First Spouses, as well, to serve as role models and educators in their states, to show the importance for individuals to develop an emergency communication plan with their families, co-workers and civic organizations.
The key message will be to encourage all Americans to “pledge to drill” in honor of 9/11 and to conduct a texting drill in which they would “Text” a simple code, “RUOK” to loved ones, The response code “IMOK” will signal the safety or status of family members. This will leave cell phone lines from becoming overwhelmed in the event of a natural or manmade disaster.
Safe America Executive Vice President for Programming Mary Lou Pagano said the Foundation chose to involve First Spouses, because they are highly visible and are well-liked and respected as civic leaders. “They’re a natural at communicating to the citizens of their state, and we believe they’ll be well-received in teaching the value of preparedness training and drills,” Mrs. Pagano added.
Mrs. Pagano noted that Safe America is asking First Spouses to do a simple texting drill with their First Family, their staff or through a venue or event in their state where a large number of people would gather. Suggestions are: sporting events, such as baseball, football or soccer games; through major universities, corporations and organizations.
The next step is for citizens of each state to do the following: a pre-determined designated meeting place for family, friends or colleagues; stockpiling of food and water for 72 hours in their home and businesses; prepare backpacks with emergency supplies in their home, office and car (visit www.safeamericaprepared.org).
For more information on how you can participate, contact Mary Lou Pagano at 770-973-7233 or by email at