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New Year’s Resolution - Get Prepared in 2014

Young man stands in the wreckage of a house destroyed by a tornado
Getting your household ready for disaster is simple

It's a new year and many of you are thinking about those New Year’s resolutions to improve your lives. Top resolutions people consider are losing weight, getting fit and stopping smoking. This year, the American Red Cross asks you to make another resolution – make 2014 the year you get prepared.

One thing you can do is download the free Red Cross apps to your mobile devices to put great preparedness and disaster information at your fingertips. Apps currently available include first aid and shelter finder apps, as well as apps that give real-time information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane, tornado, wildfire or earthquake. There’s a Team Red Cross app if you would like to become a Red Cross volunteer and more apps are coming soon. The Red Cross Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

PREPARE YOUR HOME Getting your household ready for disaster is simple – just three steps to follow:

GET A KIT The first step is to build an emergency preparedness kit. Having things in one place and close at hand can make a difference for everyone in the household. Store your kit in an easy-to-carry container that someone can use at home or take with them in case they have to evacuate. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. 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.

Your kit should include:

  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water—one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit, medications and medical items
  • Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Extra cash
  • MAKE A PLAN Talk with members of your household about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case everyone is separated, and choose two places to meet—one right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside the neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate. Other tips on how you should formulate your emergency plan are:

    Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. All household members should have this person’s phone number and email address. It may be easier to call long distance or text if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.

    Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.

    Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.

    Plan ahead for your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

    BE INFORMED Know what situations may occur where you live. For instance, if you live near the beach, know what to do in case you are faced with a tropical storm or hurricane. If you live where winters are cold, know what to do during a winter storm. Remember that emergencies like fires and blackouts can happen anywhere, so everyone should be prepared for them.

    Learn first aid and CPR/AED so that you have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders may not be as available.

    “RED CROSS READY” The Red Cross conducts different programs to help people be prepared. The “Ready When the Time Comes” program trains employees from corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes. “Be Red Cross Ready” is a web-based interactive training program that teaches people how to be ready for emergencies. The Ready Rating™ program and First Aid Emergency Drills help businesses, schools and other organizations better prepare for emergencies.

    Tags: Prepare

    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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossSC.