As the 2009 hurricane season continues and moves closer toward its August through October peak, a new study from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Georgia campaign has found that most Georgians are not adequately prepared for hurricanes and other natural or man-made disasters.
Of all Georgia households, 79 percent are not fully prepared with a Ready kit of emergency supplies and a communications plan in place, compared to 80 percent in 2007. The one percent drop shows only the slightest improvement since Ready Georgia’s launch in January 2008, but the study did reveal some encouraging results.
“We found that people familiar with our Ready Georgia campaign are twice as likely to be prepared than others,” said Charley English, GEMA and Homeland Security director. “It’s good to know that we’re making a real impact on the citizens we’re reaching, but it’s clear we still have more work to do.”
Though the number of Georgians fully prepared remains low, households that have identified evacuation routes, conducted fire drills or put together Ready kits for the car have risen by about six percent. However, the overall results of the study remain grim.
Of all Georgia households:
• 71 percent have not located a shelter they could go to in case of an emergency.
• 70 percent have not come up with a family reconnection plan.
• 70 percent do not know they need to be prepared to survive for 72 hours following a disaster.
• 65 percent have not stocked extra supplies for pets.
• 50 percent do not have battery-powered radios.
• 36 percent do not keep extra supplies of non-perishable food and water.
To help Georgians better prepare for emergencies, Ready Georgia’s Web site, www.ready.ga.gov, allows users to create a personalized Ready kit checklist and communications plan, making it simple to take those first steps toward being prepared.
Visitors to ready.ga.gov can also find local emergency contact information, read preparedness testimonials from some of Georgia’s favorite sports stars or take advantage of an online toolkit that helps individuals and organizations localize Ready Georgia’s message of “prepare, plan and stay informed” for their own communities.
Ready Georgia is encouraging groups throughout the state to use its online toolkit to start planning for National Preparedness Month in September.