National Preparedness Month is drawing to a close, but the American Red Cross says people can get ready for emergencies any day - that the first step is to create a disaster plan for their household.
National PrepareAthon! Day is September 30.The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ten things you can do to join in:
1. Sign up for local alerts and warnings. If you download the free Red Cross Emergency App, you will have more than 35 emergency alerts at your fingertips. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
2. Create your emergency plan and test it.
3. Assemble or update your disaster kit.
4. Conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions for local hazards.
5. Participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
6. Collect and safeguard critical documents.
7. Document your property and obtain appropriate insurance for hazards that may occur near your home.
8. Make improvements to your home to reduce potential injury or property damage.
9. Conduct a disaster exercise to review and improve your emergency plan.
10. Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources.
The theme of National Preparedness Month this year is “Don’t wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today.” Along with developing a plan, the Preparedness Month campaign also focuses on the following disaster themes to help everyone learn what steps to take if these emergencies occur in their community:
WILDFIRE SAFETY Wildfires in California have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres and almost 2,000 homes. If a wildfire threatens your neighborhood, listen to your local media for updates and be ready to leave quickly. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape. Full details about what you should do if a wildfire is burning near your home are available here.
HURRICANE SAFETY With Tropical Storm Joaquin swirling around in the Atlantic, people who live along the East Coast should review these hurricane safety tips. Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind. Fill your gas tank and take out some extra cash. Follow local media outlets or NOAA Weather Radio for updates. More hurricane safety information is available here.
FLOOD SAFETY If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, you should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Head for higher ground and stay there and avoid floodwaters. You can learn more about flood safety here.
POWER OUTAGE Power outages can occur anywhere and are frustrating. If the power goes out in your home, use flashlights, not candles. Leave one light turned on so you know when the power is back on. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including electronics. Learn more about what to do when the power goes out here.
For more information on how to prepare for all types of emergencies, people can visit the getting prepared information on the Red Cross site.