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How to Get Ready for Emergencies

National Preparedness Month
...install smoke alarms on every level of your home.

Disasters happen quickly, changing people’s lives forever. The American Red Cross urges everyone to make plan ahead so their household is ready for the next emergency or disaster.

GET PREPARED Planning ahead can help keep everyone safe. Families can take some steps to be ready should disaster strike. Each household should make a plan, build a kit and be informed.

MAKE A PLAN Planning together is important. Everyone in the household should help develop their emergency plan and know what they should do if something occurs. The plan should include ways to contact and find one another. Include two places to meet – one near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.

Often people are not at home when a disaster occurs and they may not be able to get back into their neighborhood. Plans should include decisions about where everyone will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there. Include several different routes in case roads are closed. Don’t forget your pets. Include where they could be safe if the family has to evacuate such as pet-friendly motels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

GET A KIT Another step is to build an emergency kit. Use an easy-to-carry container so the family can use it at home or take it with them if asked 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.

BE INFORMED Stay informed about what types of disasters are most likely to occur where you live or where you plan to visit, and how officials will communicate with you during an emergency. 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.

RED CROSS APPS People can be ready for whatever comes their way by downloading the free Red Cross apps for mobile devices which not only help people during emergencies, but offer help creating their emergency plan. The apps give people vital information to use during emergencies, even if they can’t connect to the internet. People can find the apps by searching for American Red Cross in the app store for their mobile device or at

For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, people can visit

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About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.