STARRS, St. Louis Area Regional Response System - Nick Gragnani, Executive Director
STARRS coordinates planning for the regional response to large-scale, critical incidents in the Bi-state region. The organization helps local governments, businesses and citizens plan for, respond to and recover from critical events. Over the past nine years, STARRS has distributed over $100 million in federal Homeland Security grants across Missouri and Illinois counties in our area. The STARRS framework promotes regional collaboration among disaster experts in response fields, including fire, emergency medical, public health, law enforcement and social service. This important collaboration ensures our region responds effectively during major emergencies and crises.
Kathy Gutmann, School Nurse - Hazelwood School District
Kathy Gutmann is a local school nurse who knows the importance of emergency preparedness, and has gone above and beyond to make sure the district and its students are safe. While working on her master’s degree, Kathy Gutmann, of Hazelwood Central Middle School, created a special training that focused on the importance of school nurses in an emergency situation. Her presentation included a mock drill, group discussion and the plan for an emergency cart—stocked with all of the things nurses would need in a crisis. At the time of the award presentation, about 100 district nurses had seen the presentation. It was videotaped for future use in orientations for new school nurses. These efforts ensured that all nurses in the Hazelwood School District and, therefore, all of the students in the district, are better prepared for emergencies and disasters.
International Institute, Suzanne LeLaurin - Senior Vice President for Individuals and Families
In the St. Louis region, the International Institute works in the local immigrant communities addressing a wide array of diverse cultures. The Institute recently trained more than 36-percent of its staff through a “train-the-trainer” program, so the trained staff can weave preparedness messages into their regular meetings with clients. A Red Cross Ready Rating™ member since 2009, the Institute encourages Ready Rating™ as a resource for new businesses, providing an excellent opportunity to have preparedness built into their business plan. The organization knows the importance of translated preparedness material for their non-English speaking clients. The Institute conducts regular drills and has placed workplace emergency kits throughout their building.
The National Baptist Convention
Missouri Missionary Baptist State Convention representatives - Rev. Doctor Jimmy Brown, Rev. Nathaniel Griffin
The National Baptist Convention knows emergency preparedness is key for its members. Leaders have distributed preparedness information to their local churches and identified more than one-dozen sites that can serve as shelters locally. The organization also met with the State of Illinois to identify even more shelter sites. The group planned to offer disaster training to all interested congregations. In recent years, the National Baptist Convention has partnered with the Red Cross to provide disaster trainings at their national conventions.
David Newburger, Commissioner - Office on the Disabled, City of St. Louis
In his role, David has spearheaded efforts to encourage our region to prepare. Although his work began with a focus on the community as a whole, David quickly saw that those living with a functional need were less prepared than the average citizen. As a result, he has worked to empower them to be better prepared through his role as chair of the All Ready public awareness campaign. Under his leadership, the campaign added additional committee members from the functional needs community and created marketing materials so everyone could find the resources they need. The campaign members also partnered with preparedness agencies and disability experts to develop a “train-the-trainer” program, which launched at a regional summit held in September 2012.
David has assisted in developing a practical and useful inventory of FNSS (Functional Needs Support Services) shelter supplies that are now available for regional use during a disaster, and has acted as a technical expert for FNSS/ADA issues for the Red Cross.
At the 2013 Preparedness Academy, the St. Louis Red Cross awarded its first-ever “Community Preparedness and Resiliency Awards.” This award is given to businesses, schools, organizations or individuals who have made significant contributions to building community resiliency. This is done by improving the physical, psychological, social, or economic capacity to withstand, quickly adapt to, and successfully recover from a disaster.