Hurricanes, Media and Working With the DRN

 September 4, 2008

September is National Preparedness Month, a time to review your personal disaster preparedness plan, as well as a time when hurricanes and tropical storms peak throughout the Gulf and East Coast. Two new articles are on the homepage of the APA Help Center ( <> ) with tips about coping with hurricanes and other storms. (The articles are attached to this e-mail as PDFs and are also available in Spanish <> ) The stormy month, as well as increased media attention about these storms, creates a special opportunity to work with your state’s Disaster Response Network coordinator.

Here are some tips on how the PEC and DRN networks can work together during times of disaster:

* Contact your executive director to find out the name and contact information of your DRN coordinator, if you don’t already know the person.
* Work with the DRN coordinator to develop a media plan in case you are contacted for information about disasters and how to cope. If the DRN coordinator has media experience, you may both want to be available to answer questions.
* Use your media list to reach out to the local media with story ideas. Send an e-mail or call reporters and editors, letting them know expert advice and tips are available. Remember that newsroom staff will be stretched even thinner during this time-it’s even less likely that e-mail or phone messages will be returned.
* Localize the tips as needed. Ideas include building resilience, managing stress after disasters, and children and disasters.
* Republish the tips on your state association Web site (make sure credit is still given to APA.) or in an e-newsletter that is targeted to the public.
* Find out if your DRN coordinator or volunteers are conducting any public workshops on disaster preparedness or how to cope. Public events are a good news hook for the tips.

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