Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Ridge to debut 'Ready Campaign' here

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge will flesh out the details of his new citizen preparedness campaign in a Cincinnati visit Wednesday morning, his office confirmed Monday.

Ridge will speak to 200 to 300 local volunteers, emergency workers and elected officials at 10:30 a.m. at the American Red Cross' downtown Cincinnati chapter, Assistant Press Secretary Rachel Sunbarger said. The national president of the Red Cross, Marsha Johnson Evans, will be on hand.

Ridge is coming to debut his Ready Campaign, a national effort to educate individuals and businesses about how they can protect themselves. It goes beyond duct tape - recommended by other officials last week for families' emergency supply kits - to telling people where they can find answers to their questions, he said Friday. The campaign will include television and print ads as well as a new Web site.

Gary Miller, director of disaster services for Cincinnati's Red Cross chapter, welcomes both the VIP visit and the message. The chapter is fielding a lot of calls from worried residents, he said, and has even begun offering a class on preparing for the unexpected.

"Anything to try to make things a little clearer," Miller said.

The Ready Campaign is kicking off as the United States edges closer to striking Iraq - a prospect that has increased security concerns internally. America's risk of attack was raised from elevated (yellow) to high (orange) earlier this month, although Ridge said Sunday it will probably be lowered soon.

The preparedness effort also has applications beyond foreign threats, Sunbarger noted.

"A lot of the things we're talking about are helpful in a natural disaster or a terrorist attack," she said.

Ridge's visit Wednesday will be short. He is scheduled to land at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport at 9 a.m. and meet privately with a smaller group of volunteers before speaking. He is likely to hear pleas from Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune and emergency officials for more money for items such as emergency sirens.

Ridge last visited Cincinnati a year ago.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com

Storm puts Tristate on ice
Meltdown with rain a concern
Tickets rare for driving in snow emergency

County balks on putting Brennaman's refrain on ballpark
Ridge to debut 'Ready Campaign' here
N. Ky. considers new airport
Payers wary of new-tax ideas

Guide to Anderson
Meet newspaper staff tonight

PULFER: Students adopt a soldier
RADEL: Music lovers plan Kings Records tribute

Expert: Adults need to stop bully
Academy gives taste of police work
Good News: Neighbors' award has an opening
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Sally Crane wrote volunteer column
Obituary: Harold Dorn owned office supply store

Program's topic: race and schools

Four Warren school districts seek money
Recreation center's child care called pricey
Career center heads south

Ohio Moments: University at Athens goes back to beginning
Hearings to examine revised parole rules

Heather F. Henry says 'no' to run
Suspended profs' decision expected
Abused-by-clergy group convenes
Black history center will focus on Kentucky
60,000 left without power in Lexington
Accountants settle for $23M