Disasters can strike quickly and often without warning. During National Preparedness Month, the Hawaii Red Cross is encouraging all households to get ready for the next disaster or emergency.
“Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs,” said Coralie Matayoshi, Chief Executive Officer for the Hawaii State Chapter. “We are having a busy hurricane season and if residents haven’t already created or updated their emergency plans, National Preparedness Month is a great time to do so.”
MAKE A PLAN. It is important that everyone in the household helps put the emergency plan together and knows what they should do if something occurs. Household members may not be together when a disaster happens – during the day many people are at work and school. The plan should include ways to contact one another and two predetermined 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. People should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.
Any emergency plan should also include decisions about where family members will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there. It’s a good idea to include alternate routes in case roads are closed. If pets are part of the household, make sure to include plans for them such as pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.
FREE RED CROSS EMERGENCY APP. The Red Cross also urges residents to download the free all-in-one Red Cross Emergency app that includes over 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts, maps to find the nearest open shelter, step-by-step instructions on what to do before, during, and after a disaster strikes, and lifesaving first aid instructions, diagrams, and videos on what to do for 20 emergencies like heart attack, stroke, bleeding, choking, head injuries, burns, broken bones, asthma attack, diabetic emergency, heat stroke, seizure, poisoning, bee stings, allergies, and unconsciousness. There is even a one touch “I’m safe” button that allows you to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that you are out of harm’s way.
Pets are also affected by disaster and rely on your help during emergencies. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get simple step-by-step instructions with videos on what to do for poisoning, bleeding, choking, and dozens of other emergencies, as well as what to do in disaster situations. Having this app could be critical to your pet’s survival in any emergency situation. Download these apps at the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace or by visiting redcross.org/apps.
OTHER WAYS TO GET READY. Another step to get one’s household ready is to build an emergency kit in a container that is easy to carry so the family can use it at home or take it with them if asked to evacuate. It should contain a seven-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 week’s worth of emergency supplies at home.
Everyone also needs to stay informed about what types of disasters are most likely to occur where they live or where they plan to visit. 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.
For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, people can visit redcross.org/hawaii or contact the Hawaii Red Cross at 808-734-2101.
The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it depends on public contributions to help others. Your gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in your community, across the country and around the world. To send a contribution, mail your check to: American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816. Make a secure online donation at www.redcross.org/hawaii or call: (808) 739-8109.