Each year, Ready Georgia hosts an art and essay contest for fifth graders statewide. We ask the students to give us their creative take on preparedness, sharing their personal experiences and the lessons that they’ve learned about how to prepare, plan and stay informed. This year we have added an exciting new component – a video category in which fifth graders can work on their own or collaborate with friends and classmates to produce a creative video about this year’s theme, “Remember the Past, Get Ready for the Future.”
As the school year and this year’s contest gets under way, I wanted to share last year’s first place essay entry with you. Kayla Paige of L.O. Kimberly Elementary in Atlanta has some great insight on what it takes to get Ready. Check out the way she customized her kit with medications and even some fun items to keep her family entertained!
I hope Kayla’s essay will inspire you – or the fifth grader in your life – to enter this year’s art and essay and video contest. It is a fun way to learn more about emergency preparedness and to observe National Preparedness Month. We’re accepting entries from now until September 30, so you’ve got plenty of time to get creative and get Ready.
“Get Ready Georgia” by Kayla Paige of L.O. Kimberly Elementary
What would I do if a tornado, flood, hurricane or a severe thunderstorm happens in Georgia? Storm season is here! Do not panic! Get prepared and make a Family Emergency Plan before disaster happens. This plan could save your family’s lives. What would we do if a tornado hit while we were at home? What if I am at school and my Mom is at work? So let’s get started by having a family meeting and decide what we need.
A list of what we need in our Family Emergency Kit is very important. A first aid kit is at the top of the list. My brother and I have asthma so we need to have extra asthma pumps. My grandma takes lots of medicine, so she would need to put hers in a pillbox and mark it.
Other things we need in the kit are food and water. The food must be canned or dried. On our list will be granola bars, nuts, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables, crackers, nonperishable milk, cereal, and pet food. Each person should have at least one gallon of water.
No kit would be complete without a Bible, Uno Cards, hand sanitizer, paper cups, face masks, plates and plastic utensils, a first aid book, extra clothes, flashlights, batteries, trash bags, toilet paper, cash, phone chargers, and a manual can opener. A whistle would be used to signal for help if you are trapped. Tarps are great for on the spot shelter. Pack everything in a five-gallon airtight container, mark it, and include the plan.
Next, you should have an emergency action plan. After a disaster, the first decision is whether to stay where you are or to evacuate away from home. Each family member should have a copy of the emergency plan that shows a meeting place inside and outside the house.
Use cell phones to call family and make sure everyone is OK and that we have activated the Family Emergency Plan. Out of town relatives need a copy of the phone list and plan. Put emergency numbers in the cell phone on speed dial. Make sure your phones are charged.
A weather radio should be in the kit. It is the best way to stay informed of what is happening during a disaster. This would help to decide what your next move should be. We would know what areas are safe and which ones are hit hardest. This would make a real difference in how well the emergency plan will work.
Thunderstorms happen very often in Georgia so be prepared to take cover in the spring and fall months. Do not take cover under trees! Fires sometimes occur when there is a tornado. During December, January and February we experience winter storms.
So get a kit, make a plan, and stay informed! Remember, an emergency plan can make a difference in the life or death of your family.