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Red Cross Urges Planning during National Preparedness Month

Does Your Family Have an Emergency Game Plan?
Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense. --Tina Labellarte

It’s National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross is encouraging all households to create a family emergency game plan to make sure they are ready for the next emergency or disaster.

Plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, an out-of-area emergency contact person and a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home. All members of the household should work together on the emergency plan and each person should know how to reach other family members.

“Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense,” said Tina Labellarte, Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska/SW Iowa Region of the American Red Cross. “Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.”

Red Cross tools make it easier for people to make or update plans. Instructions and a template to build a plan are available on the Red Cross website. Families and households that create or update a disaster plan in September can register for the prize drawing for a new Apple iPad®! Official rules on the web page provide further details. Entrants may use preparedness app make a plan feature, the Family Disaster Plan template or other formats as featured on

“Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency,” Labellarte said. “No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow.”

Other Ways to Get Ready

The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.

• Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.,

• Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.,

• Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.

• People can visit for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 join our blog at