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LAS VEGAS (Aug. 28, 2023) — Recent devastating wildfires in Maui and flooding from Hurricane Hilary serve as stark reminders of the urgent need for families and communities to be prepared for disasters and emergencies. As September marks National Preparedness Month, the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada is urging everyone to create an emergency plan for their family and consider volunteering to help others.
Severe weather events continue to escalate across the nation, with the American Red Cross responding to nearly double the number of large-scale disasters compared to a decade ago. "As we witness the increasing impact of these disasters every year, we are grateful for the community's generosity and partnership in expanding our capacity and services to help those in great need," said Rachel Flanigan, Executive Director of the American Red Cross, Southern Nevada Chapter.
For National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross of Southern Nevada encourages everyone to take three lifesaving actions: get a kit, make a plan and stay informed. Access essential safety tips now at redcross.org/prepare.
Take these three crucial steps to prepare:
- Create an evacuation plan: Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines what to do in case your family gets separated during an emergency. Designate meeting points and establish communication channels. Ensure your plan includes provisions for pets.Build an emergency kit:
- Assemble a well-stocked emergency kit containing essential items such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important documents, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
- Stay informed: Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you can receive important information, such as evacuation orders. Stay tuned to your local radio, NOAA radio or news channel for the latest updates.
To stay prepared for the unexpected, residents are encouraged to download the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app provides real-time weather alerts, information on open Red Cross shelters and expert advice on disasters. It is compatible with smartphones, Apple Watch and Android wearable devices. Search "American Red Cross" in app stores or visit redcross.org/apps
Volunteer now to help during the mounting U.S. disaster responses
In the first half of 2023 there have been 15 confirmed weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each in the U.S. From 1980 to 2022, the average number of major disasters each year in the U.S. was 8. "Our volunteers work tirelessly to provide aid to those in need. We need more trained disaster volunteers to support disaster response efforts across the country and here in our local community," said Flanigan.
Every day, individuals and families in our community rely on Red Cross volunteers for assistance. Volunteers help people affected by disasters, donate blood, teach lifesaving skills and support active-duty military personnel, veterans and their families. Discover the volunteer role that suits you best at redcross.org/volunteer.
Adapting to the climate crisis
As extreme weather disasters continue to increase, the Red Cross is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and expand its capacity by:
- Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by increasing aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to individuals and families with the most significant recovery needs.
- Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.
- Strengthening local partner networks in high-risk areas vulnerable to extreme weather events and existing societal inequities. This focus includes improving access to health and mental health services, nutritious food and safe housing for local families.
- Growing its disaster workforce which is comprised of 90% trained volunteers, to enhance disaster readiness. This includes fortifying critical infrastructure and technology to ensure a 24/7 response capability to disasters across the country.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.