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FEMA honors local Scouts at White House

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The Boy Scouts of America Troop 9 of Petaluma was honored on Jan. 28 at the White House for its work as a partner in the National Strategy Supporting Youth Preparedness sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Michael Flett and Tucker Cullen, two Boy Scouts from Petaluma Troop 9 accepted the certificate that honored the Petaluma youths’ work to help show how to prepare for an emergency. They were accompanied to the ceremony with their fathers Michael Tucker and Duncan Flett.

“Troop 9 is the only Boy Scouts represented in the FEMA program,” Duncan Flett said. “I didn’t realize the scope until we were invited to the White House. The White House recognized the boys quite well.”

Scouts and adults who represented Troop 9 in Washington D.C., are Order of the Arrow (OA) members. The OA is Scouting’s National Honor Society.

“We look at our program as being boy led, boy done,” said assistant Scoutmaster Duncan Flett, who was part of the five-person contingent to visit the White House. “We had Scouts working on the preparedness program with adults guiding it. We contacted FEMA when we were looking for assistance. In mid-December, FEMA advised us we were going to be part of its national strategy program,”

In September 2013, Troop 9 organized their first Petaluma Emergency Preparedness Fair. It brought together many federal, state, and local organizations, including FEMA, the American Red Cross, local Petaluma and Sonoma County fire and police departments, U.S. Coast Guard first responders, the California Highway Patrol, elected officials, and other groups.

“Through this event, these organizations collectively provided local community members—young and old—with essential emergency preparedness education, materials, training, and supplies,” Flett said. “We held the fair in the Friedman’s parking lot. September is Emergency Preparedness Month nationall.

“The fire department was out there. We had an earthquake preparedness trailer. The idea was to help folks learn how to take care of themselves take care in an emergency.”

FEMA, the Red Cross, and the Department of Education produced “National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience.” The document outlines a vision for a nation of prepared youngsters and provides nine priority steps that local, state, and national partners can take to help prepare for emergencies.

Since the United States population is made up of roughly 25 percent young people, FEMA opted to promote youth preparedness education.

Boy Scout Troop 9 was chartered in March 2009 through Elim Lutheran Church.

(Contact Ted Sillanpaa by calling 776-8458 or by email at ted.sillanpaa@arguscourier.com)

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