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Prepare Now to Be Safe During an Emergency

Emergency Preparedness Kit
Planning is key to helping someone stay safe.

Spring has sprung, bringing with it the unique weather threats people face as the days grow longer and the temperatures warm up.

Spring is the time of year for thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding. The country has already seen devastating flooding in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and other southern states this year and some rivers are still rising.

Thunderstorms produce lightning, which unfortunately kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Their heavy rains can cause flash flooding and their strong winds can damage homes and cause power outages.

Tornadoes are more common in the Plains states, but can occur anywhere. They are violent and capable of destroying homes and businesses and leaving people with nothing.

You can find safety information about all different kinds of emergencies in the Red Cross preparedness section of this web site. Information about how to prepared, what to do during whatever the situation is, and what to do after is all available.

So what should people do to be prepared should a weather emergency threaten their community? Planning is the key. They need to know what emergencies are most likely to happen where they live, learn, work and play. Being prepared is just a few short steps away:

1. Get a kit. If you’ve ever fumbled to find a flashlight during a blackout, you know what it feels like to be unprepared. Use a downloadable checklist to make it easy to get your emergency preparedness kit ready. You should include:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water—one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit, medications and medical items
  • Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Extra cash
  • 2. Make a plan. Talk with household members about what you would do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case you are separated, and choose two places to meet - one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

  • Choose a contact person from out of the area and make sure all household members have this person’s phone number and email address. It may be easier to call long distance or text if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
  • Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.
  • Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.
  • Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
  • 3. Be informed. Know the risks where you live, work, learn and play.

  • Arm yourself with information about what to do in case an emergency occurs. Remember that emergencies like fires and blackouts can happen anywhere, so everyone should be prepared for them.
  • Find out how you would receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.
  • Learn first aid and CPR/AED so that you have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders may not be as available. Visit the training section of our website for information and to find a class in your area.
  • 4. Download our apps. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding, as well as locations of shelters. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. Parents can also download the Red Cross Monster Guard App for a fun way to teach children what to do in case of a flood or a hurricane.

    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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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