If disaster strikes, will you be ready?
Now is the best time for people to get ready for the next emergency because no one knows whether it will occur in their home, their community or across the United States. “Being prepared is the best way to be ready for disaster,” said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “These emergencies can affect one family or an entire community. By taking responsibility for our own preparedness, we each help contribute to the resilience of our community."
An emergency preparedness kit should be stored in an easy-to-carry container that someone can use at home or take with them in case they have to evacuate. It should contain a three-day supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. The Red Cross Store has items available for someone’s kit, ranging from a hand-crank radio to a fully stocked deluxe emergency preparedness kit.
All members of a household should work together on an emergency communication plan. Each person should know how to reach other members of the household. The plan should also include an out-of-area emergency contact person, and where everyone should meet if they can't go home.
To be informed, people should know what types of disasters are most likely to occur where they live. It is also important to take a first aid and CPR/AED course—a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed. Smart phone users can download the American Red Cross First Aid app so they’ll have information on hand about what to do for everyday emergencies.
The Red Cross also has programs geared toward businesses. Red Cross Ready Rating is a free, web-based program that helps businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Members complete a self assessment of their current readiness level and receive immediate, customized feedback with tips to improve. Ready When the Time Comes is a program that trains employees from corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
No one can predict where or when the next disaster will strike, but getting ready now can help save lives when the time comes.