Getting america really ready

August 1, 2006

Today the Federation of American Scientists launched, a comprehensive emergency preparedness website developed in nine weeks by FAS intern Emily Hesaltine. Modeled after the Department of Homeland Security's, addresses the inaccuracies and incomplete information on the DHS site. launches just after recent updates to that changed the site's look and feel, but did little to improve the information contained within. The Department of Homeland Security took more than five months and millions of dollars to create a website that was redeveloped in nine weeks by a 20 year-old college sophomore for the price of a domain name. includes clear and accurate information to help individuals, families, businesses, and individuals with disabilities prepare for and respond to a variety of threats. A thorough analysis of is also available on the site.

"I know it isn't good to laugh about such a serious topic, but when I saw the graphic on suggesting that when a nuclear bomb goes off a hundred feet away you might want to protect yourself by walking around the corner, I just couldn't help myself," said Ivan Oelrich, Vice President of Strategic Security at FAS. "After three years and millions of dollars, taxpayers should expect a better website from the Department of Homeland Security."

The appropriate reaction to a nuclear attack is to hide from the light and heat of the blast, then walk perpendicular to the wind away from the dust cloud. Accurate information like this, not available on, can be found on Modifications were also made to repetitive, lengthy, and generic material to make it easier to use and remember.

A section was added to help Americans with disabilities prepare for and respond to emergencies. The section, developed in collaboration with the National Organization on Disability's Emergency Preparedness Initiative, is titled "ReallyReady Disabilities" and answers questions like how to create a support network to help you in an emergency and how to develop an evacuation plan.

"The Department of Homeland Security has declared September National Preparedness Month. It would be shameful if they could not get into shape before then," said Michael Stebbins, Director of Biology Policy at FAS. "It took an intern two months to make, DHS should be able to make a useful site in less than a month."

Source: Federation of American Scientists

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...

First Londoners were multi-ethnic mix: museum

November 23, 2015

A DNA analysis of four ancient Roman skeletons found in London shows the first inhabitants of the city were a multi-ethnic mix similar to contemporary Londoners, the Museum of London said on Monday.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.