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Red Cross Urges NJ Households to Prepare for Emergencies

Offers Tools to Help Families Take Action

PRINCETON, NJ, September 12, 2013 — Disasters can strike quickly and often without warning. During National Preparedness Month, the American Red Cross North Jersey 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 Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “National Preparedness Month is a perfect time and the Red Cross is here to help families create or update their plan.”

The Red Cross will be on hand at numerous events throughout the month to help people develop their Family Disaster Plans, offer preparedness advice and showcase tools such as free mobile apps, checklists and the Red Cross Ready Rating Program, available to help individuals and communities be better prepared. Some upcoming events include:

•Healthy Family Fun Fair - Saturday, September 21st from 10:00am–3:00pm, College of St. Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road in Morristown, Red Cross Free Hands-only CPR Training, Fire Safety Trailer, and Disaster Preparedness.

•The Microsoft Store at Bridgewater Commons - Saturday, September 21st offering preparedness information from 1:00–3:00pm with a presentation at 1:30pm, 400 Commons Way in Bridgewater.

•Community Health Fair – Saturday, September 21st offering preparedness information from 12:00-4:00pm with a presentation at 12:00pm, St. James Church, 581 Valley Road in Montclair.

•The Roy Smith Theater at Union County College – Friday, September 27th preparedness presentation at 6:30pm, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford.

•Clifton Preparedness Fair - Saturday, September 28th offering preparedness information from 10:00am – 2:00pm at the Senior Citizen Center, Clifton Municipal Complex, 900 Clifton Avenue in Clifton.

A listing of community events featuring preparedness can be found on the American Red Cross North Jersey Region blog.

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,” Nelessen 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.” One touch “I’m safe” messaging feature allows users to instantly broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way via pre-set text, email and social media outlets. 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 and access available tools, people can visit

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

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region

The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services in the northern half of the state throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 4,500 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. During FY12, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 419 local disasters, helping 929 families displaced by home fires; collected more than 28,500 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; helped 884 military families send emergency messages, receive financial assistance, and get counseling and referrals; and trained 143,344 individuals with life-saving skills in CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.


Diane Concannon

American Red Cross - North Jersey Region

609-206-4043 (cell)