Residents and Congregations urged to get ready during National Preparedness Month
GEMA Announces New Program to Partner with Houses of Worship and an Emergency Supplies Recipe Contest with Top Georgia Chefs
(ATLANTA) – To commemorate the beginning of National Preparedness Month in September and help residents prepare for disasters, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) is partnering with local houses of worship on a new program called Praise & Preparedness.
“When disasters strike, many of us turn to our faith communities for shelter and support,” said Charley English, Director of GEMA. “Praise & Preparedness will equip houses of worship to prepare themselves for disasters and help the members of their congregations get ready.”
Through the new initiative, GEMA will provide houses of worship with information, ideas and materials to get ready, including emergency plan templates, flyers, emergency supply checklists, family communications plan worksheets and more. In addition, congregations are urged to join the Preparedness Partnership Program, which asks them to complete several activities ranging from a facility safety assessment to exploring new opportunities for involvement in community emergency disaster relief efforts. Adairsville Church of God, which played an integral role in recovery efforts after a tornado devastated its community in January 2011, is the inaugural partner in the program.
“We know that there is always the potential for another emergency, so we recognize the importance of taking steps now to protect our church, congregation and community if it happens,” said Ken Coomer, pastor of Adairsville Church of God. “Praise & Preparedness provides the resources we need to ensure our staff is properly trained and our members are prepared in advance for disasters.”
National Preparedness Month was founded after 9/11 to increase awareness and encourage action for emergency preparedness nationwide. Throughout the month, GEMA’s 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.
Other National Preparedness Month activities include:
No Power? No Problem! Recipe Contest
As many Georgians have experienced this year, it’s tough to make good food when a disaster strikes and the power goes out. To promote the importance of stocking at least a three-day supply of food, Ready Georgia has recruited some of Georgia’s best chefs to create recipes that could feed a family of four who are stuck at home without electricity. The recipes will feature only non-perishable foods, manual tools and alternative heating sources. Fans will be able to view the recipes and vote for their favorite on the Ready Georgia Facebook page, and the chef with the most votes will be named Georgia’s Top Emergency Chef. The chefs competing in the contest are:
- Chef Ray Whitlock—The Georgia Club (Athens, GA)
- Chef Jason Starnes—The Sun Dial (Atlanta)
- Chef Roberto Leoci—Leoci’s Trattoria (Savannah, GA)
- Chefs Chris Hall, Todd Mussman and Ryan Turner—Unsukay Community of Business (Atlanta): Owners and operators of Muss & Turners, Local Three, Eleanors, Common Quarter and The Giving Kitchen Initiative
Everyone who votes will get a chance to win a weekly prize, including a Ready kit with emergency supplies and a mobile phone backup power charger donated by Verizon Wireless, and the grand prize featuring gift cards from the restaurants of the participating chefs and a round of golf at The Georgia Club.
Retail Partnerships with The Home Depot and Verizon Wireless
Many groups have already committed to supporting the National Preparedness Month message locally. On Sept. 6, Ready Georgia is partnering with The Home Depot stores statewide to provide a preparedness activity book during the company’s monthly Kids Workshop. Additionally, throughout the month, Georgians will be able to take advantage of discounts on select mobile phone chargers at Verizon Wireless stores and online. More events from around the state can be found on Ready Georgia’s community calendar.
Statistics from the National Weather Service reveal that from 1995 to 2013, weather-related events have killed at least 188 people in Georgia and injured countless others. The Ready Georgia campaign provides resources that make preparedness easy. The newest tool is the recently upgraded Ready Georgia mobile app, which features geo-targeted severe weather alerts, a map of shelters during emergencies, maps of live traffic conditions and a mobile emergency supplies checklist.
On the Ready Georgia website (www.ready.ga.gov), Georgians can create a Ready profile and receive a tailored communications plan for the entire family that includes the specific amount of supplies to put in their household Ready kits. The website also offers local emergency contact information and an online toolkit to help individuals and organizations localize Ready Georgia’s message. For those with functional needs, the website offers emergency preparedness videos in American Sign Language, informational documents in Braille, large-print versions of promotional flyers and written transcripts of all audio/visual materials.
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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 the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) 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 Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.