President Obama declares November “Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends actions that all Americans take to assist in protecting our infrastructure from disasters and other hazards.

When severe weather strikes, disrupting essential services such as electricity, water, communications and even transportation, most people are suddenly very aware of just how important this infrastructure network is to sustaining the quality of life that we have come to expect. In recent years, portions of the U.S. have experienced devastating storms such as hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, while wildfire and tornadoes caused havoc in other areas of the country.

President Obama’s proclamation addresses the need to protect these essential services from a variety of hazards including natural disasters, terrorism and cyber-attacks. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website calls for federal, state, local, tribal, territorial and private sector partners, as well as individual citizens to actively participate in ensuring the continuation of a secure and resilient infrastructure.

They recommend, as a first step, that individuals read the presidential proclamation. They ask that you share with others (family, customers, employees, etc.) what efforts you are making to support infrastructure security and resiliency. This sharing may occur in person or via electronic means including email, newsletters, your own website and social media. If you have the opportunity to speak to a group, they suggest you refer to Critical Infrastructure and Resiliency Month during your talk. You may wish to order their free toolkit to assist you in sharing this information by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement is especially stressed by DHS in their “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. Your call may help prevent a violent crime or terrorist attack. An accurate description is essential. To see what details to provide, view the list on the DHS website. You need not provide your name, reporting suspicious activity can be completely anonymous.

The DHS website offers additional information for those who want to learn more about critical infrastructure security and resiliency. Their Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) also offers free training programs and resource materials for both government and private sector partners who want to increase their knowledge and skills to protect and improve our critical infrastructure.

A wealth of disaster-related information provided by Extension professionals from all over the U.S. can also be found at Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and eXtension.org.

If you find yourself in a disaster situation where electrical services are interrupted for a length of time or your home is affected by flood waters, during the recovery period visit the Michigan State University Extension website for guidelines about food safety and sanitizing household objects that may have been contaminated by flood waters. If you have questions that cannot be adequately answered by the documents found there, the website provides access to Extension specialists who can address your concerns. 

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