Press Release: Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security
(ATLANTA) The next time a tornado touches down in Georgia, potentially flattening homes and downing trees and power lines, would you know where to take shelter? If a hurricane made landfall near the coastline, causing inland flooding and treacherous road conditions, will emergency supplies and a family communications plan already be in hand?
According to a new statewide survey by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security’s (GEMA) Ready Georgia campaign, the answer is likely yes.
“Research shows that personal preparedness is now at an all-time high, with more than three-fourths of Georgians reporting they are somewhat or fully prepared for a large-scale emergency,” said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “That’s a 22 percent increase in preparedness since we took our baseline survey in 2007. We are really encouraged to see that people are getting the message about the importance of preparedness and are taking steps to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors.”
This is the sixth year the agency has commissioned a study to analyze emergency preparedness among key demographics. Results show that in the past 12 months, most respondents say they have stocked at least some emergency supplies including a flashlight and extra batteries, manual can opener, first aid kit and three-day supply of water and nonperishable food.
Personal experience with emergency situations plays a large role in personal preparedness. Nearly one-third of survey participants reported that they had personally experienced a large-scale disaster, and of those, nearly 75 percent said they were then motivated to prepare for emergencies.
“Ideally, we’d like to see everyone prepare for an emergency before they experience one,” said English. “But it can be extremely difficult to overcome our tendency to think ‘It will never happen to me.’ That’s why the Ready Georgia campaign exists -- to keep reminding us that we are all at risk and that there is no better time than now to prepare.”
The study divulged some other positive findings, including an increase in awareness of the Ready Georgia campaign among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, males and households with children. In addition, 65 percent of respondents have reportedly stored important documents safely, while 55 percent have extra medical supplies for family members with functional needs.
The study also revealed gaps in Georgians’ preparedness. For example:
“The destruction caused by the deadly storms in recent weeks is a reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness,” said English. “We are encouraged by the recent survey results but recognize that there is plenty of room for improvement. We hope that more residents will embrace the Ready Georgia message and take action to prepare for a disaster.”
For more information, visit www.ready.ga.gov. For preparedness on the go, families can also download Ready Georgia’s free mobile app.