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US Homeland Security Launches 'Ready Campaign' - 2003-02-19


The Secretary of Homeland Security has launched a national information program, called the "Ready Campaign," to help the public prepare for potential terrorist attacks.

Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge traveled to the American heartland city of Cincinnati, Ohio to launch the new "Ready Campaign". He says its message is simple. "The threat of terrorism forces us to make a choice," he said. "We can be afraid or we can be ready. And, today America's families declare we will not be afraid and we will be ready."

Mr. Ridge says a special Internet web site and a national telephone number have been set up to provide appropriate information about emergency planning and terrorist alerts. "Our message is this," said Tom Ridge. "We cannot always predict an attack. We can always prepare. There are simple things you and your family can do for the unlikely but possible terrorist incident: Namely, make a kit, make a plan, be informed."

Earlier this month, an announcement that the terrorist threat level had been raised to "Code Orange" sparked panic buying of emergency supplies across the country.

Since then, Mr. Ridge has tried to calm fears and assure the public that measures have been implemented to enhance national security. "Smart borders to protect our safety and our economy, tough international shipping and container standards, 50,000 highly trained federal screeners at our airports, new plans to protect our physical and cyber security, the nation's first early warning network of sensors to detect a biological attack, billions of dollars to help our public health system cope with an attack and very shortly we will help distribute funding to our nations' first responders to help them train and equip to address any threat, conventional or otherwise," he said.

The new measures have been put in place since the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, in Mr. Ridge's words, "stole some of America's innocence and sense of security."

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