Athens, Ga. – September is National Preparedness Month, an effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies at home, work or school. For the second year, UGA is a National Preparedness Month coalition member and will be offering information to help prepare individuals for any emergency.
Keynote speaker Dr. Anne Schuchat will present “Pandemic Influenza: Perspectives from the CDC” at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Chapel. Schuchat, who graduated from Dartmouth Medical School, is captain of the U.S. Public Health Service and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
UGA will offer an informational emergency preparedness showcase at the Tate Student Center plaza on Sept. 26, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. The event will feature giveaways and prize drawings, including one for a portable, wind-up Éton FR400 emergency radio, which also comes with a cell phone battery recharger. The showcase is open to students, faculty, staff and the community.
Community organizations that will be present with information and volunteer opportunities are the Athens-Clarke County Community Emergency Response Team, the East Georgia chapter of the American Red Cross, the Northeast Georgia Public Health District’s Medical Reserve Corps and area members of the Amateur Emergency Radio Service. Participating UGA organizations include the police department, the Enterprise Information Technology Services’ Office of Information Security, the Environmental Safety Division’s fire safety program and Hazard Assessment Response Team, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (with information on agrosecurity), the Center for Mass Destruction Defense and the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness.
In addition, emergency vehicles from Athens-Clarke County and UGA will be on display in the turnaround area near the Student Learning Center.
“It’s an opportunity for people to learn more about the big picture, and how many issues there are for them to consider,” said Haley.
A little bit of planning not only goes a long way in taking the stress and worry out of an emergency situation, said Opal Haley, director of UGA’s Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness, it’s also a necessity when emergency responders are limited.
When the topic of emergency preparedness arises, Haley remembers a cartoon of an ostrich with its head in the sand. It’s tempting to take the ostrich’s approach in the panicked times that often come with an emergency, said Haley.
Like the hiding ostrich, some people may think, “It’s too big, too much,” said Haley. “But the basic premise is to make a plan, and assemble a (survival) kit. . . Just having a plan and a kit puts you so far ahead in terms of recovery and getting back on your feet.”