Governor Deal, GEMA/HS Encourage Georgians to Get Ready During National Preparedness Month
Recent Survey Shows Improved Levels of Preparedness; Room for Improvement Remains
(ATLANTA) – More than three out of four Georgians are at least somewhat prepared for an emergency, but many have not taken all of the essential steps to get ready, according to a new statewide survey by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) Ready Georgia campaign.
To promote the importance of preparing before disasters strike, Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month in Georgia and encourages residents to take action and get fully prepared. According to the annual survey, 80 percent of Georgians report being at least somewhat prepared for a large-scale disaster or emergency, a 27 percent increase since the Ready Georgia campaign launched in 2008.
Ready Georgia promotes three key steps to readiness: be informed about potential threats and protective measures to take in emergency situations; make a plan for communicating and reconnecting with family members if you are separated during an emergency; and build a kit of emergency supplies that allows you and your family to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours following a disaster.
Most Georgians have stocked key emergency supplies at home, including a flashlight with extra batteries (85 percent), a first aid kit (71 percent) and a three-day supply of water and nonperishable food (67 percent). However, only 36 percent of Georgians have arranged a family meeting place or reconnection plan, and just 27 percent have purchased a NOAA Weather Radio.
“It’s great to see that more Georgians are stocking supplies, but it’s also essential to have a plan. Disasters don’t wait to strike when you’re at home. They may hit when your family is separated at work or school,” said GEMA/HS Director Jim Butterworth. “At the beginning of September, we’re all getting used to the new school year routines. It’s the perfect time to for every family to develop and discuss a communications plan to figure out how you will reconnect after an emergency.”
To make preparing easier, Ready Georgia offers a Ready profile tool on its website and mobile app. Creating a profile allows Georgians to develop a tailored communications plan and supplies checklist and take it with them wherever they go.
The 2015 survey also shows that personal experience with emergency situations plays a large role in preparedness. Twenty-six percent of respondents indicated they had not stocked emergency supplies, because they hadn’t experienced a disaster and don’t think one will strike. In contrast, more than one-third of survey participants reported that they had personally experienced a large-scale disaster, and of those, 72 percent said they were then motivated to prepare for emergencies, and most stocked more supplies.
National Preparedness Month was founded after 9/11 to increase awareness and encourage action for emergency preparedness nationwide. Throughout September, the GEMA/HS Ready Georgia campaign will join a nationwide coalition of thousands of private, public and nonprofit organizations, each hosting local events and initiatives designed to motivate people to prepare their homes, workplaces and communities for emergencies of all kinds.
Many groups have already committed to supporting the National Preparedness Month message locally. Notable Georgia chefs like Hugh Acheson and Kevin Gillespie will be competing to create the tastiest recipe using non-perishable foods in the second annual No Power? No Problem! Recipe Contest taking place Sept. 8 – 30 on the Ready Georgia Facebook page. On Sept. 5, The Home Depot stores statewide will provide a preparedness-themed activity book to all participants in the company’s monthly Kids Workshop. The month-long observance concludes Sept. 30 with National PrepareAthon! Day, when everyone is encouraged to participate in an activity to get prepared. More National Preparedness Month events across the state can be found on Ready Georgia’s community calendar.
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of GEMA/HS and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive website, free mobile app, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.