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American Red Cross Urges Households to Prepare for Emergencies

Having a game plan in place is essential for all households

Disasters can strike quickly and often without warning. During National Preparedness Month, the American Red Cross, Southeastern Michigan Region, encourages all households to get ready for the next emergency or disaster.

“Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs,” said La Forice Nealy, Regional Chief Executive Officer, the American Red Cross, Southeastern Michigan Region. “National Preparedness Month is a perfect time for Southeast Michigan residents to create or update their plan.”

Southeastern Michigan Region Preparedness Events

September 7

Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter: Old Navy Safety Day -Together with the YMCA, Noodles and Co., Ann Arbor Fire and Ann Arbor Police, discussed and distributed safety information to Old Navy shoppers.

September 10

Monroe County Chapter: Welcome Back Barbeque - Monroe Community College - Red Cross will be on hand to promote volunteerism, blood donation and disaster preparedness.

September 12

Southeastern Michigan Region: Team Firestoppers - The Red Cross and General Motors' teamGM Cares volunteers will distribute vital information to residents in Detroit's Morningside and Brightmoor neighborhoods as part of a new program called Team Firestoppers. The goal of the effort is to educate residents to help them prevent, prepare for and respond to house fires.

September 14

Monroe County Chapter: Bark for Life - at Monroe County Community College, Red Cross staff and volunteers will be conducting information and awareness seminars.

September 16

Monroe County Chapter: CASA Orientation - Red Cross staff and volunteers will be conducting information and awareness seminars.

September 18

Monroe County Chapter: RSVP Program at Bedford Library - Red Cross staff and volunteers will be conducting information and awareness seminars.

September 18

Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter: Ann Arbor Lions Club Presentation - Be Red Cross Ready presentation

September 21

Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter: Preparedness Education, Train the Trainer - Training new volunteers to be preparedness educators.

September 24

Monroe County Chapter: Luther Haus Health Fair - Red Cross staff and volunteers will be conducting information and awareness seminars.

September 24

Washtenaw-Lenawee Chapter: Team Firestoppers – Team Firestoppers will be canvassing in Ypsilanti neighborhoods in volunteer teams to help residents prevent, prepare for and respond to house fires.

September 27

Southeastern Michigan Region: Team Firestoppers – Team Firestoppers will be canvassing in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit in volunteer teams to help residents prevent, prepare for and respond to house fires.

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.

RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross has free mobile apps that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies including developing an emergency plan. “People can use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create their plan and then share it with their loved ones,” Nealy said. “The preloaded content in the apps gives people access to vital information to use during emergencies, even if they can’t connect to the internet.” The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

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 three-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 weeks 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.

Another way people can help ensure their community is ready for a disaster is to give blood. When an emergency occurs, it is the blood already on the shelves that is available to help patients who need it. Thousands of blood donations are needed every day for patients who need blood to help in their battle back to health. If someone would like to give blood, they must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

To schedule a donation time or to get more information about giving blood, people can go to redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.