Be Disaster Safe: Grover Washington Jr. Middle School Students Pledge to Prepare for Emergencies during National Preparedness Month

On Monday, September 24, 2012, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., the Grover Washington Jr. Middle School, 201 East Olney Avenue, will host the City of Philadelphia’s annual Pledge to Prepare Day.  Pledge to Prepare Day is one of many events being held throughout Philadelphia in September for National Preparedness Month. Prior to the ceremony various emergency response vehicles from the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments, the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia will be on display during the Pledge to Prepare Fair in the parking lot in front of the school’s entrance starting at 1:30 p.m.


During the ceremony, Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison will present a City of Philadelphia Proclamation to Principal Terry Pearsall-Hargett. Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter; Deputy Managing Director for Emergency Management Samantha Phillips, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers; Group Assets Protection Team Leader John Griffin of Target; Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan of the Philadelphia Police Department; and fifth and eighth grade student ambassadors will participate in the program.


“It is well-documented that young people can play an important role in disaster preparedness.   These students have demonstrated how to help our city be safer, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster,” said Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison. “We commend the students of Grover Washington Jr. Middle School for their efforts in learning about disasters and for asking their families to prepare a Family Emergency Plan.  We urge all Philadelphians to follow their lead by pledging to prepare a Family Emergency Plan for all households in Philadelphia.”


The event will cap off the “Be Disaster Safe” lessons presented by the Office of Emergency Management and American Red Cross staff to the fifth and eighth grade students during National Preparedness Month. The students also will display posters and projects demonstrating how to prepare for emergencies.  “The American Red Cross Masters of Disaster® program is a fun and engaging way to educate young people about how to prevent and prepare for disasters,” said Hughes.   “The program gives educators meaningful, hands-on tools that could potentially save lives.”


“Grover Washington Jr. Middle School is proud that we have been selected to work so closely with the American Red Cross and the Office of Emergency Management during National Preparedness Month,” said Principal Pearsall-Hargett.  “If an emergency happens, our students are now better prepared to respond quickly and safely with confidence.  We would like to thank Target and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management for the generous gift of American Red Cross emergency supply kits for the families of our students.”


Approximately 250 students will receive American Red Cross emergency supply kits for their homes from the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management through funds donated by Target.  “Target’s participation in National Preparedness Month helps contribute to the safety and security of communities throughout the U.S. Preparing communities and our business for disasters is a top priority for Target,” said Brad Brekke, vice president, Target corporate security. “The more our guests and team members are prepared in advance of a disaster, the easier it is for communities to recover quickly.”


National Preparedness Month also will feature other emergency preparedness activities including Personal and Family Preparedness Workshops, Senior Citizen Fairs and Expos, and a Business Continuity Workshop for local businesses and non-profits being held throughout September. In addition, a free community Pledge to Prepare Community Night sponsored by Target was held at the Franklin Institute on September 19.


For more information about National Preparedness Month events in Philadelphia visit the Office of Emergency Management website at and the American Red Cross website at

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