With the official start of autumn on September 22, the American Red Cross urges preparedness as the season changes and temperatures fall.
As cooler weather starts to set in across the country, families and individuals will turn on heating sources such as furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters and wood or coal stoves to warm their homes. Remember the biggest disaster threat is not floods, tornadoes or even hurricanes - it’s home fires. In fact, the Red Cross responded to 63,000 in 2010. That’s one every eight minutes. But unlike other disasters, most home fires can be prevented.
PREPARING FOR A NEW SEASON Families should make sure to take necessary precautions when using heating sources and never leave portable heaters and fireplace unattended. Other safety steps when using alternative heating sources include:
Learn more about how to prevent home fires.
IT’S STILL HURRICANE SEASON While it’s important to prepare for seasonal changes, people should remember that hurricane season continues through November 30. Particularly residents living in areas which can be affected by tropical storms and hurricanes should stay prepared.
The Red Cross has hurricane preparedness steps people can follow to make a plan, build a kit, and be informed. An emergency kit should include items such as a gallon of water per person, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. And remember family members with special medical needs and plan how you will care for your pets.
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.
People should also download the free Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone and Android smart phones to access instant preparedness information. The app puts real-time information on hurricane safety at people’s fingertips while keeping individuals and families informed of the storm’s progress from the National Weather Service. The app also features information on Red Cross shelters, a toolkit with flashlight and alarm, and a one-touch “I’m Safe” button connecting to social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay.
Links to the apps can be found at redcross.org/prepare/mobile-apps. The Hurricane and First Aid Apps can also be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.