Preparedness Week: Be Red Cross Ready


The Red Cross is a leader in National Preparedness Month, which occurs every September. Preparedness Week is a five-day campaign that aims to motivate students to prepare themselves and their peers for a disaster by encouraging their classmates to 1) complete an American Red Cross Emergency Contact Card and/or 2) answer preparedness questions correctly. 

You can also utilize this opportunity to establish contact with your peers and advertise the Red Cross Preparedness Mobile Apps. While this activity is meant to focus our efforts and complement the other activities of National Preparedness Month, it can be held at any time of the year.  



Being prepared makes all the difference during a disaster, and developing a personal communication plan is easy. By participating in this activity, you are playing a vital role in Red Cross efforts to educate and prepare. We can’t do it without you!  


How to Get Started

Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Objectives

Define your desired outcomes for the activity and create measurable goals and objectives to guide the planning process. We encourage you to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations into your activity and be creative with your approaches.  

Step 2: Plan the Details

Identify competition groups   

   • Decide who will be involved in the competition. Will it be between homeroom classes, grades, or other student groups?

Finalize the format of the activity

   • Formulate the preparedness questions

       • Questions that are relevant to your school will be even more impactful because they help students to become more aware of emergency features, such as:

           • “What is our school's emergency evacuation plan and routes?”

           • “Where can you find fire extinguishers at our school?”

           • “Where can you find first aid kits at our school?”

       • Here are more resources to craft the preparedness questions.

           • Hurricane Safety Quiz | American Red Cross

           • Water Safety Quiz | American Red Cross

Determine an approach to measure and incentivize participation.

   • You can set up a table/booth for students to visit during lunch and morning hours where they can fill out Emergency Contact Cards and turn in answers to the preparedness questions.

   • Have a point system in place. For example, each question answered correctly could be worth one point, while each completed card could be worth two points.

   • Determine the reward for the winning group.


Step 3: Coordinate the Logistics

Set a date and time

   • Preparedness Week is typically a five-day campaign,

   • First day of the campaign

       • Consider hosting a Disaster Speakers event.

       • Print out enough Emergency Contact Cards for your peers to complete.

   • Last two days of the campaign

       • Table around your school to remind everyone about the Emergency Contact Cards. Students will be on the edge of their seats waiting to hear who won the challenge, so tally the totals and deliver the news. And that’s a wrap! 


Secure a venue

   • Find a location in your school or a public place with more foot traffic, such as a mall or a park. 

Assign roles and responsibilities

   • This activity requires volunteers to prepare and facilitate. We also suggest assigning volunteers to create flyers with preparedness tips and put them on walls to kick-start the preparedness week. Here are some sample poster messaging:

       • Smartphones are great, but hedge your bet: Carry a paper card. Fill out your Emergency Contact Card today.

       • Love free Apps and bonus points? Download the Red Cross Preparedness App on your cell phone and earn badges to help your class win the prize! Each badge you earn helps keep you safe and gets you an extra point.

       • Do you and your family know what to do in an emergency? Plan. Tonight, I will spend some time creating a household communication plan.

       • If you were separated from your family during a disaster, would you know how to find each other? Talk to them tonight and pick an out-of-town emergency contact.

       • You may be text savvy, but is everyone in your family? After a disaster, text messages may go through even when phone calls do not. Today, I will teach a family member how to send a text message.


Gather supplies

   • Create a list of supplies needed and arrange to acquire them in advance.


Spread the Word

   • Advertise the activity through various channels such as social media, email, and school announcements.

   • Send a reminder with important details prior to the activity. 


Step 4: Facilitate the Activity

   • Run through Step 2 and Step 3 in advance and engage the participants throughout the activity.

   • Arrive early to set up for the activity.


Step 5: Debrief and Thank Your Volunteers

   • Invite participants to discuss their experiences and capture lessons learned.

   • Thank everyone who contributed and participated.

   • Remind volunteers to record their hours through Volunteer Connection.