September is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross of wants all Central New York residents to get prepared with its “Ready CNY” program. Natural and man-made disasters are on the rise across the country, and “Ready CNY” gives Central New Yorkers the tools to participate in emergency preparedness and recovery.
“Ready CNY” is a preparedness program that covers upstate New York’s 16 central counties. The focus is to help these communities build their capacity to withstand, adapt and recover from emergencies. By building resiliency networks, providing preparedness training, capacity building, and public outreach, “Ready CNY” mobilizes the financial and human resources necessary to achieve the Red Cross mission: Alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.
“Preparedness lessens the impact of a disaster and enables individuals and communities to effectively respond,” said Jill Deskins, Disaster Program Manager of the American Red Cross Southern Tier Chapter. “The ‘Ready CNY’ program is important because it not only covers individual and family awareness, but also includes businesses. If we can build resilient communities across New York State, it will save money when a disaster occurs and, most importantly, save lives.”
“Ready CNY” goals include: engaging a task force consisting of new organizational partners to build resiliency networks in each of Central New York’s 16 counties; educating 440,000 residents in disaster preparedness, CPR, first aid, and fire safety; growing and retaining the number of trained disaster volunteers by 40 percent and increasing supplies by 15 percent; and reaching 1.8 million Central New York residents overall, which will encourage other Red Cross chapters nationwide to adopt the program.
Having emergency kits and a communication plan in place for you and your family is the best way to be prepared in the event of a disaster. It’s recommended that you have two kits: a three-day supply for your home, and a smaller kit if you need to evacuate. Each kit should include items such as food, water, a flashlight, medication, and a first aid kit. A communication plan should be developed in order to unite your family in a safe place when a disaster hits your area. The plan should also include who to contact, where to go, and how to get there.
“With sometimes only seconds to flee safely, if you have things prepared in advance that you can grab and go, then you have a head start at rebuilding,” said Kathleen Rourke, Disaster Action Team Chair of the American Red Cross of Tompkins County. “It is also helpful to be prepared by practicing with your family so people can react automatically and quickly to get to safety.”
Your pets must also be included in your emergency plan. Many of the same rules apply to your pets: Enough food and water for three days, medication, a collar with ID tag, crate or pet carrier, and sanitation needs.
For more information on “Ready CNY,” contact your local Red Cross Chapter.