Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ReadyWisconsin Goes to Washington D.C.

- Tod Pritchard, Preparedness Coordinator for ReadyWisconsin

Wow, for a simple country boy from Wisconsin, going to Washington D.C. is like visiting another world.  You’re struck first by the history that surrounds you.  Our conference on emergency preparedness was held in the old Naval Hospital built in 1864.

You’re also struck by the people who work in D.C.  So many people walk with an air of confidence and a sense of mission.  Many working on Capitol Hill and other government agencies look so young.  Well, I guess everyone looks young to me these days…

I was invited to spend two days learning about emergency planning from really smart people who flew in from across the country.  There are so many great ideas on how to talk to people about being ready for emergencies and disasters.  One of the biggest takeaways for me was research that shows that children exposed to emergency planning in school are three times more likely to be ready and to get their families ready.  The same is true for people exposed to preparedness ideas in their workplace training.

I shared information about our STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning) program.  5,800 fifth-grade students in 90 schools across Wisconsin will participate in STEP this school year.  Folks at the conference were amazed by those numbers.

So you might be wondering: how did I get a picture of myself in front of the U.S. Capitol?  Well, it rained the entire time I was in D.C. and no one from the conference wanted to walk to the Capitol and stand in the rain to take a picture.  So on my way out of town I asked my cab driver (Carlos) to swing by the Capitol.  I told him he was in for a good tip if he would take my picture.  He did a nice job, don’t you think?

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