WASHINGTON, DC — In celebration of National Preparedness Month, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today unveiled new emergency evacuation route signs that will more clearly identify evacuation routes out of the city in case of an emergency. The new attachments will enhance the “Stars and Bars” identification currently used on the 19 emergency evacuation routes in the District.
Following the Mayor’s announcement outside 8th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) crews immediately began installing the new blue “Evacuation Route” placards to existing street signs along Pennsylvania Avenue. Pennsylvania Avenue will be the first evacuation route completely retrofitted with the new signs.
“The District is dedicated to providing the best emergency plans for our citizens. We continue to improve on how we communicate important and viable information to residents, visitors and commuters such as with our 72hours.dc.gov website,” stated Mayor Fenty. “These new evacuation route placards are just one more informative identifier to assist people in case of an emergency evacuation.”
The District has a total of 19 identified and marked evacuation routes. The blue evacuation route placards will be strategically interspersed on existing street signs along each route. DDOT estimates approximately 3500 signs will be retrofitted. Bids for the fabrication, retrofitting and installation are scheduled to be opened next week.
“All District agencies are dedicated to the safety of our citizens and work closely together to improve and further develop a comprehensive, smart and well-communicated evacuation plan in case an evacuation is necessary” said Frank Seales, Jr., Interim DDOT Director.
September is National Preparedness Month and is sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security. It is a nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.
The goal of the month is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action. Throughout the month, the District, spearheaded by DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and various support agencies, including DDOT, are coordinating a series of events to underscore the importance of overall preparedness. The focus this year in the District is on the basic steps of preparedness — “Get Informed”, “Make a Plan,” “Make an Emergency Kit” and “Be Aware.”
The city also uses the month to focus attention on its emergency information center website, 72hours.dc.gov, where citizens can register for DC Text Alert, which sends emergency alerts to text-capable devices, including cell phones, pagers, BlackBerries and computer desktops and also contains information about protective actions for various types of emergencies, as well as instructions on how to make an emergency plan and kit.