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WASHINGTON, Tuesday, September 4, 2012 — As Hurricane Isaac relief efforts continue, American Red Cross chapters nationwide are uniting to help every family create a disaster plan.
Whether it’s a hurricane, earthquake or house fire that threatens, families need a disaster plan first to make sure they are ready when emergencies happen. “Just like no coach would bring a team onto a field without a game plan, every family needs their own game plan for emergencies,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director of Community Preparedness and Resilience at the Red Cross. “When disaster strikes, it’s too late.”
Disaster plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home and an out-of-area contact who can help connect separated family members. All members of the household should work together on the emergency plan and each person should know how to reach other family members.
The Red Cross has tools to make it easier for people to make or update their plan. The American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone and Android smart phones helps people create a plan and share it with household members and over social networks. In addition, a template to build a plan is available at redcross.org/npm.
“Being prepared is a family’s best defense,” said Richard Bissell, Ph.D., chair of American Red Cross Preparedness Sub-Council and member of its Scientific Advisory Council. “Having a plan is vital to making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.”
OTHER WAYS TO GET READY
The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.
“We can’t control Mother Nature,” said Paulsen, “but we can control what we do. And having a plan can make all the difference.”