ATLANTA (January 29, 2009) -Weather played a disastrous part in the lives of many Georgians in 2008 as metro Atlanta and other parts of Georgia experienced three major tornado touchdowns in a span of two months (March-May 2008), including the first-ever strike to downtown Atlanta.

Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, has designated the week of February 1 – 7, 2009 as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia, and the American Red Cross is encouraging the public to Be Red Cross Ready and to save lives by preparing for weather related emergencies ahead of time. “Spring is generally the time of year that weather in Georgia can become very unstable,” said Marilyn Self, manager of readiness for metro Atlanta’s Red Cross. “The Red Cross urges Georgia families to prepare ahead of time in order to reduce fear and to save precious time and lives during severe weather events.”

Throughout the first week of February and the rest of the severe weather season, the Red Cross is urging everyone to take three simple action steps: get a family emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan and be informed about the types of disasters that can happen in their communities.

How to Prepare

Recent Red Cross polls indicate that people think they are “somewhat prepared” for disasters when, in fact, they are not as prepared as they need to be. The Red Cross encourages everyone to take the following steps to help them Be Red Cross Ready:


·         Get a Kit– Have at least three days of supplies in an easy-to-carry evacuation kit, with additional supplies on hand. The kit should include basic items like water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight and a first aid kit.  Your kit should also include medications, sanitary supplies, and a change of clothing for all family members. Click Be Red Cross Ready in the Red Cross Links section to find out how you can purchase a kit from the Red Cross or download instructions for building your own.



·         Make a Plan– Planning ahead will help you have the best possible response to disaster. Make sure to talk to with your family about the types of disasters that can take place in your community. Choose a place outside your home and a place outside of your neighborhood to meet after a disaster. As part of your family communications plan, tell everyone in your household where emergency information and supplies are kept and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Click Be Red Cross Ready in the Red Cross Links section to download an emergency contact card for your wallet. Click Red Cross Safe and Well in the Red Cross Links section and become familiar with this resource for reconnecting with your family in case you are separated in an emergency.


·         Be Informed– Disasters can vary from those affecting only you and your family, like a home fire or medical emergency, to those affecting your entire community, like an tornado or flood. Know what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work, and play and identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster. Red Cross training if first aid and CPR saves lives. Click Red Cross Health and Safety Classes in the Red Cross Links section to view and register for regularly scheduled classes in your community.  


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