Statewide — September is National Preparedness Month and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) encourages Hoosiers to spend the month of September talking with their friends and family about planning and preparing for all of Indiana’s potential disasters.This year’s National Preparedness Month theme, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today,” emphasizes the importance of creating a family emergency communications plan, assembling a disaster preparedness kit, and identifying the different types of disasters that can happen locally. Most of all, parents and guardians should use this month as an opportunity to talk with children about preparing for emergencies and getting them involved in the disaster planning process.Some helpful safety tips to consider when creating a disaster plan are:Emergency plans need should always be tailored to the specific needs of the household.Create a list of emergency contacts and share them with family members and friends.Discuss possible emergency scenarios with family members. Include events such as fires, natural disasters, and man-made disasters.Establish an evacuation route that can be used in the event of a disaster, and make sure all family members are aware of them.A comprehensive collection of safety and preparedness resources can be found by clicking here.
No, the headline is not some twisted joke. There is nothing funny about being written off unless you have the last laugh as I pray Ghanaian Paralympians will do here in London.”Do not lower your expectations” that is the message coming loud and clear from the Local Organising Committee (LOCOG) of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.It seems like just yesterday when the world witnessed the start of the 2012 Olympics in grand style amid grand pomp and pageantry with tradition embracing modernity.What followed in the days after the opening theatre seems to be unanimous at the conclusion that the Summer Olympics went down as one of the finest of the modern era.For me, having never physically witnessed or indeed never covered a Paralympics event excites me to the core as would a teenager looking forward to a new adventure.Out of the over 4,200 athletes, Ghana would have FOUR citizens in action; each with the deep knowledge that back home, hope has been discarded like an orange sucked dry. It is all well and good for our Ministers and Sports officials in Africa (Please I have not mentioned any names) to make bold and positive proclamations about their country’s intent.Who does not love an inspirational speaker like Obama or Mandella? Especially when they back it up with results.Yet, as we jealously witnessed Obama’s team USA walking the talk, we are still talking the talk without research, statistics, facts and in today’s sport arenas – technology and science.Sadly, some of us who claim to have a duty as journalists to point in a certain clear direction regardless of our stomachs or consequences, are unwilling or un-knowing?Times are hard the world over and Ghana is no exception. Thus the risk of being isolated when it comes to calling a spade a spade is too much for some of us to take. However, it is a prize worth paying because ultimately, truth cannot be denied forever as real substance always stands the test of time whilst short cuts and mediocrity never leaves a legacy.One would have thought that feeding the aspirations of a nation must go hand in hand with practical, firm and long term planning but in Africa, we seem to love to bluff, only to huff and puff when the chips are down.Thankfully, the Paralympians are exactly the embodiment of hope. They mock defeat and stare adversity in the eye like prized bulls ready to be pierced in an arena. There are no guarantees but there is also no fear.Ghana is taking part in Games with just FOUR athletes who have been in London for several weeks now (thanks in part to the NGO, Right to Dream) preparing for the biggest event of their lives.So who are these men and women on whose shoulders medal hopes are heavily stacked against yet who have literally kept quietly confident under the media radar? Wheelchair Track athletes Raphael Nkegbe Botsyo and Anita Fordjour may not be household names yet but they have as much a chance perhaps, than their more illustrious able bodied compatriots who came, saw and left raw.Another athlete hoping to defy the odds and win a medal for Ghana in the Para-Cycling event is Alem Mumuni. He is the African defending champion in the C2 category of paracycling racing. He must not be ignored.Mumuni overcame a tough field to win the discipline for the third time running and to qualify to the Games in London. I am sure he has been watching the incredible media hype and support accorded the GB Paralympians.Then there is Powerlifter Charles Narh Teye who has great hopes in the bench press at the 67.5 kilogram weight class.Having won a Gold Medal at an event in Cardiff earlier this year, Narh Teye also competed in Dubai at one of the largest international Powerlifting competitions. Could he bring a medal and hope back to Ghana?On Wednesday evening, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will open the London 2012 Paralympics by attending the ”special” Olympics for the first time possibly minus her recuperrating husband. The Duke of Edinburgh was taken to hospital last week after a recurrence of an infection which also forced him to miss part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.91 year old Prince Phillip’s likely absence by the side of the Queen will not change the tone and theme of the opening ceremony as we have been told not to lower our expectations.According to the media release, the event will showcase some of the UK’s best creative performers as well as run through a raft of traditions, such as the raising of the Paralympic and Host Nation’s flag.