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POSTED: May 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.
In the wake of the devastating tornadoes that hit Georgia in March, it has become clear that citizens need to be prepared for such unexpected emergencies.
When disaster strikes, there is no time to prepare.  With that in mind, it is critical to invest time and money now that could save you in the future.  
Even devoting as little as one hour on the way home from work or on a relaxed weekend can pay off if disaster strikes.
An October 2007 survey conducted on behalf of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency shows that one third of homes in Georgia do not have a sufficient supply of non-perishable food and bottled water in case of an emergency. Most families, 81 percent, have not conducted a simple fire drill or prepared an evacuation plan.
This research prompted GEMA to motivate Georgians to prepare themselves for disasters. The agency launched the Ready Georgia campaign in January to provide citizens with resources and tools to help in the preparedness process.
A visit to the campaign's Web site, ready.ga.gov, shows that getting ready is easy and does not have to be a process at all. In an hour or less, your family can buy enough water and food to last at least three days, get a NOAA weather radio and program it to meet your specifications, come up with an emergency family plan or map an evacuation route.
Taking these steps is a necessary precaution, as Georgia is susceptible to almost any type of disaster. In 2007, wildfires forced many Georgians out of their homes, and studies show that a hurricane brushes or hits Georgia every three and a half years and makes a direct hit every nine years. Because hurricane season begins in June, now is the time to get ready.
By being prepared with a kit, an emergency family plan and information on potential threats, you can mitigate the effects of a natural or manmade disaster.
For more information about emergency preparedness in Georgia and to see a full list of Ready kit items, visit www.ready.ga.gov.
 

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