September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross helps people get and stay prepared with a series of steps and materials to keep handy. You can also join America’s PrepareAthon and develop an emergency plan to be ready for the next emergency or disaster.
Disasters can strike at any time, and the Red Cross encourages creating a disaster plan for your household that can help keep people safe in an emergency. Things can happen very quickly and sometimes there are only minutes to react. Planning ahead can help keep households safe. Having an emergency plan helps families be prepared for an emergency or large-scale disaster. You can visit the Preparedness section of redcross.org to learn what steps your family can take when emergencies strike.
RED CROSS APPS Several free Red Cross mobile apps offer help creating emergency plans. Use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create an emergency plan and then share it with loved ones. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for ‘American Red Cross’. A Family Disaster Plan Template is also available for download to help make or update the plan.
HOME FIRES The most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home. National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household.
When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.
You should also install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.
For more information on how to prepare your family for all types of emergencies, explore the Preparedness section of the redcross.org website.