EAST ORANGE, NJ - Friday, in recognition of the month of September designated as National Preparedness Month, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) and East Orange Mayor Lester E. Taylor III held a joint press conference to to ensure the safety of the community in the event of natural or manmade disasters at City Hall Plaza in East Orange.

The purpose of the press conference was to inform and educate East Orange and the surrounding communities about the best practices to prepare for emergencies. Information regarding current legislation to provide enhanced services for children, assisting small businesses in recovering, and programs that can ensure the safety of the community’s most vulnerable residents were also discussed..

Congressman Payne Jr. and Mayor Taylor were joined by Ana Montero, Regional Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey American Red Cross, and U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Regional Administrator, Al Titone. 

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“During September, families in every community are preparing for a number of things – the end of the summer, children heading back to school, and so much more,” said Mayor Taylor. “With so much to do, it’s easy to understand how preparedness for natural or manmade disasters may be overlooked. That’s why it’s important for us to do what we can to inform and equip our communities for disasters that come with this season”.

Congressman Payne Jr., who serves as a Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications and a 2016 National Preparedness Month Congressional Co-Chair has introduced legislation (H. Rept. 115- 92 – Homeland Security For Children Act) that will make amendments to the Homeland Security Act to incorporate the needs of children into Department-wide policies and authorize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to incorporate children’s needs into all preparation, response, and recovery activities of the agency.

“During the work week, 69 million children are separated from their parents while attending school. As we prepare our families to return to school, proactive practices, such as developing reunification plans and creating emergency contact cards can be crucial in reuniting children with their parents in the event of an emergency” said Congressman Payne Jr. “For my part, I will continue to advocate that the unique needs of our children are considered in the emergency planning process”

For more information about preparedness for natural disasters such as hurricanes, please visit federal resource center www.ready.gov.