WASHINGTON, Tuesday, September 3, 2013 — The American Red Cross urges families across the country to come up with a game plan to make sure their household is ready for the next emergency or disaster.
During National Preparedness Month, Red Cross chapters all across the country are planning events to help people develop their family disaster plans, get preparedness information and learn more about preparedness in their communities. For more information on events in someone’s area, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter. Local chapter contact information can be found at redcross.org.
“Having a plan outlining what household members will do in an emergency is the best thing they can do to be prepared for an emergency or large-scale disaster,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services for the Red Cross. “Things can happen very quickly, giving people only minutes to react. Planning ahead can help keep everyone safe.”
MAKE A PLAN Planning together is important. Everyone in the household should help develop the emergency plan and know what they should do if something occurs. The plan should include ways to contact and find one another. Include two 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. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.
“Often people are not at home when a disaster occurs and they may not be able to get back into their neighborhood,” Reed said. “Plans should include decisions about where everyone will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there.”
When discussing evacuation, everyone should include several different routes in case roads are closed. If pets are part of the household, they should be considered, including where they could be safe if the family has to evacuate such as pet-friendly motels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.
RED CROSS APPS People can learn what to do before, during and after emergencies by downloading the free Red Cross apps for smart phones and tablets. Tools are available to make an emergency plan and share it with household members. Preloaded content allows users to access vital information 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 or at redcross.org/mobileapps.
BUILD A KIT Another step to get ready is to build an emergency preparedness kit. Household members should gather supplies in an easy-to-carry container in case they have to evacuate. The kit 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 stored at home. A variety of emergency preparedness and first aid kits are available at redcrossstore.org
GET TRAINED 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. Online and in-class courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
“We’re encouraging every household to at least create and share their emergency plan. It's easy to do with the free resources the Red Cross has developed,” Reed added.
For more information on how to prepare for emergencies, people can go to redcross.org.
Contact: Public Affairs Desk, Telephone: (202) 303-5551, FOR MEDIA ONLY