WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, September 24th, the White House will honor local heroes who are “Champions of Change for Community Preparedness and Resilience.” The event will celebrate Americans who are preparing communities for disasters and helping them respond and recover, bringing members of the whole community together – private businesses, local government, community and faith-based organizations, and individual citizens – to make a difference.
As the President said in his 2013 Proclamation for National Preparedness Month, “Time and again, America faces crises that test our readiness and challenge our resolve — from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods to shootings, cyber incidents, and even acts of terrorism. While my Administration is working tirelessly to avert national tragedies, it is every American’s responsibility to be prepared. By planning for emergencies, individuals can protect themselves and their families while also contributing to their communities’ resilience… ordinary Americans have stepped up in moments of trial and tragedy to perform real acts of heroism.”
In 2012, the cost of weather disasters alone exceeded $110 billion in the United States. Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of events like storms, floods, heat waves and wildfires. In June the President released his Climate Action Plan which steps up our efforts to prepare the Nation for these impacts so we can better protect homes, businesses, and ways of life from severe weather. Also recognizing the need to increase the participation of individual citizens, businesses, and organizations, President Obama directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to launch a comprehensive campaign to build and sustain national preparedness among Americans of all backgrounds and ages, moving them from awareness to action. The Champions we will recognize have been leaders in this initiative.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals, businesses, and organizations doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.