Ever read headlines and feel ‘safe?’ From cyber security to active shooters; from weather disasters to North Korea, we all feel growing worries.
The Atlanta-based Safe America Foundation was begun 23 years ago, initially focused on transportation. We earned an award from the U.S. Department of Transportation for conceptualizing a ‘fun way’ to get parents to use child car seats. Our approach: use Turner Broadcasting’s then subsidiary, Hanna Barbera Studios, and its animated characters the Flintstones – to show parents the importance of using a car seat (via Pebbles Flintstones). We used creativity and themed a float in the Tournament of Roses. And, then helped distribute over 100,000 car seats from Maine-to-Hawaii. Just a couple years ago we learned how a South Carolina infant had her life saved as she survived a crash in 1995 off I-85. Today, she’s in her mid-20s – having grown into a happy, lively adult!
We went from child safety and ‘matured’ into helping protect teenagers. It started with a phone call from Honda, who asked us to create a program for teen drivers. Our concept – to find the ‘Safest Teen Driver in Ohio’ – led to events across the Midwest, where teens ‘pledged to drive safe’ on the hood of a Honda Civic! That success led to Cox-owned WHIO-TV (in Dayton, Ohio) to share their ‘success’ working with Safe America with their sister station, WSB-TV (here in Atlanta). Through that internal connection, we grew a program called ‘Safe Communities’ with WSB-TV that has been a model in advancing community safety.
We didn’t neglect other risks; for example, FEMA contracted with us to develop a national earthquake safety campaign called ‘QuakeSmart.’ And, then, we worked with the Coast Guard to teach boaters the importance of avoiding BUI (boating-under-the-influence) like they avoid DUI. Once again we ‘popularized’ safety, working with Met Life and its mascot, ‘Snoopy,’ to promote boating safety.
In 1999, we began working internationally, through an invitation by Delta Air Lines executives. Their request was for Safe America to conceptualize a program for its global travelers. Under the branded-named ‘WorldSafe’, we focused on teaching international travelers how to protect themselves – creating a web site and series of brochures that gave tips on what executives should do when traveling abroad.
Since then, the WorldSafe program has continued to grow. And, today, we’re working with the American Red Cross to provide relief in Puerto Rico with a new device known as the SafeAmerica ‘Cooking Can’ (seen below after a meeting with Delta Senior Vice President Allison Ausband)
After years of working with UPS, we’ve expanded our ties internationally – through global organizations like the UN, PAHO as well as NGOs, like Disaster Recovery Institute International, World Cares, and foreign governments and universities. This has led to our planning to hold our first-ever inaugural ‘WorldSafe Summit’ in Atlanta. Hosted by partner WSB-TV on October 26-28, we’ll examine 5 key issues: transportation, community safety, disaster readiness, cyber security and human trafficking. Our goal: to mobilize task forces to do ‘real work’ at solving today’s safety problems.
High-level executives are coming, like AT&T Intellectual Properties CEO Scott Frank; Lt. General Russell Honore (who rescued New Orleans after Katrina); and, Devon Bryan, Chief Information Security Officer for the Federal Reserve Bank. We also have top-flight safety advocates like Miller Ingenuity CEO Steve Blue whose firm (Miller Ingenuity) invented a new rail safety product – Zone Guard – that is preventing deaths of maintenance crews are on-the-tracks. We’re also engaging community leaders like Cobb Police Chief Mike Register – a Safe America Board member – to reduce the risk of teen gangs through a new youth program. Additionally, we’ll be talking about how to reduce those ‘exposed’ to active shooters in stadiums, churches or schools via a ‘Training Camp.’
Whatever activity we’ve developed, the common denominator is saving lives. And, while you may not feel any direct threat, we hope you’ll recognize that you have employees, neighbors and extended family who do. So, plan on attending our Conference. And, let’s address growing worries by being ‘Be Prepared. Not Scared.’ It’s the best way to protect what’s priceless: human life.
Len Pagano, President, CEO and Founder
Safe America Foundation / WorldSafe Initiative