As news reports of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey continue to come in, it should serve as a reminder that no matter the event, Georgians need to be prepared. The past 12 months have brought unpredictable weather and other disasters to Georgia, and to help reinforce the importance of being prepared, Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month.
Throughout the month, the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency’s (GEMA/HS) Ready Georgia campaign is encouraging all Georgia residents to prepare before disasters strike. Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can.
“National Preparedness Month is the time for people to develop a plan and examine plans they may already have in place,” said GEMA/HS Director Homer Bryson. “In the past 12 months, we’ve seen weather events impact our communities across Georgia. We’ve also seen citizens come together to help each other following a disaster. Having a plan in place to help not only yourself, but your neighbors as well makes our communities more resilient, and helping one another is what Georgians do.”
Georgians seem to be getting the message. In GEMA/HS’ May 2017 Ready Georgia Awareness and Preparedness Survey showed 23 percent of Georgians reported being “fully prepared,” with 81 percent of Georgians reporting being at least “somewhat prepared.” These figures represent the highest numbers to-date of Georgians being ready for a disaster. Though the goal is for every family and community to be 100 percent ready, the number of Georgians who are recognizing the need to be ready is on the rise.
To continue this trend, throughout National Preparedness Month, Georgians are encouraged to take a step toward creating a comprehensive emergency plan for themselves, their families and their communities. The Ready Georgia website and mobile app offer tools to assist people in creating these plans and list opportunities to volunteer in your community following a disaster.
Preparedness is not an all-or-nothing proposition, but even taking a single step each week toward creating a plan can add to a household’s and a community’s resilience in the face of severe weather events and other emergencies. The themes for each week during National Preparedness month are as follows:
Sept. 1-9: Make a Plan for Yourself, Family and Friends
Sept. 10-16: Plan to Help Your Neighbor and Community
Sept. 17-23: Practice and Build Out Your Plans
Sept. 24-30: Get Involved. Be a Part of Something Larger
The month-long observance concludes Sept. 30 with National PrepareAthon Day, an opportunity for everyone to participate in an activity to get prepared.
For tips and tools to get your family and community ready for a disaster, during National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.ga.gov. Additional preparedness information is also available from your local EMA director.
As part of the Office of the Governor, GEMA/HS works with local, state and federal governments, in partnership with the private sector and faith-based community, to protect life and property against man-made and natural emergencies. In addition, GEMA/HS employees are on 24-hour call statewide to assist local authorities when disaster strikes. GEMA/HS’s Ready Georgia campaign helps Georgians prepare for disasters.
Go towww.ready.ga.gov or download the free Ready Georgia app for information on developing a custom emergency plan and Ready kit.