A famous quote from Malcolm X is, “education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow does not belong to those who do not prepare for it today.” And this message is just as important today in relation to emergency preparedness. Without knowledge on how to respond to a disaster, natural or man-made, it’s more difficult to protect ourselves, our families and our communities.
When we are prepared, we are more confident, so it’s imperative to have a game plan to know how to react when the unexpected occurs. According to Ready Georgia’s statewide survey, last year, 27 percent of African-Americans were prepared – a four percent increase in preparedness, compared to 2009. Although the level of preparedness is increasing, there’s still room for improvement, as our community is the least prepared.
We should never underestimate the damage that a disaster can cause. As a Brownie Girl Scouts leader, I’ve helped my troop make Ready kits, informed them about the disasters and emergencies that could happen in our area and had Henry County’s emergency management agency director share helpful preparedness tips with us. Here are some ways that my family and I prepare, plan and stay informed:
- Prepare – My family and I created a Ready kit that includes a NOAA Weather Radio and other items that we might need, in addition to supplies for each of our unique needs. Some items in our Ready kit include honey because it will never spoil, Gatorade to maintain energy and endurance, as well as strawberry pop tarts – our favorite!
- Plan – We have developed a communications plan that includes emergency contact information along with reconnection plans and evacuation routes. We made an escape route from our home, too. My five and eight-year-old daughters have been taught the importance of staying calm if a disaster occurs, and we make sure we have cash with us at all times.
- Stay Informed – We have familiarized ourselves with the types of emergencies that can occur in our area and listen to our local news channel to make sure that we know the most current information if there’s a threat in our area.
Never wait for an emergency to occur to get prepared. I challenge you to be proactive and use the information and resources on this site to prepare your family. Host a preparedness workshop at your office – every business should have a plan for survival also. Encourage your church congregation to organize a preparedness fair for your community. Finally, make sure that you educate yourself about preparing for large-scale emergencies by reading blogs like ‘Get Ready’, attending forums/workshops and paying attention to the news. And remember, “education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow does not belong to those who do not prepare for it today.”