5 Actions for Emergency Preparedness: the American Red Cross-Together we can save lives.
In today’s climate, it’s more important than ever that all of us be prepared for possible emergencies. Natural or other disasters can strike suddenly, at any time and anywhere. But there are five actions everyone can take that can help make a difference.
- Make a plan.
- Build a kit.
- Get trained
- Give Blood
Join other members of your community through the American Red Cross in taking these first steps. You never know how many people your actions will affect, how many lives you might change. When we come together we become part of something bigger than us all. Find out what you can do today.
- Make a Plan:
Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response.
- Talk : Discuss with your family the disasters that can happens where you live. Establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. Designate alternatives in case someone is absent.
- Plan: Choose two places to meet after a disaster:
*Right outside your home, in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire.
*Outside your neighborhood, in case you can not return home or are asked to evacuate your neighborhood.
3. Learn: Each adult in your household should learn how and when to turn off utilities such has electricity, water and gas. Ask someone at the fire department to show you how to use the fire extinguisher you store in your home.
4. Check Supplies: Review your disaster supplies and replace water and food every six months. (More information on disaster supplies appears in the following section.)
5. Tell: Let everyone in the household know where emergency contact information is kept. Make copies for everyone to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Keep the information updated.
6. Practice: Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternative routes on a map in case main roads are impassable or gridlocked. Practice earthquake, tornado and fire drills at home, school and work.
2. Build a kit:
What you have on hand when a disaster happens can make a big difference. Plan to store enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least three days.
- Water: have at least one gallon per person per day.
- Food: Pack non-perishable, high protein items, including energy bars, ready to eat soup, peanut butter etc. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
- Flashlight: Include extra batteries.
- First Aid Kit: Pack a reference guide.
- Medications: Don’t forget prescription and non-prescription items.
- Battery-operated radio: Include extra batteries.
- Tools: Assemble a wrench to turn off the gas if necessary, a manual can opener, a screwdriver, hammer, pliers, a knife, duct tape, plastic sheeting and garbage bags and ties.
- Clothing: Provide a change of clothes for everyone, including sturdy shoes and gloves.
- Personal Items: Remember eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution, copies of important papers, including identification cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports etc. and comfort items such as toys and books.
- Sanitary supplies: You’ll want toilet paper, towelettes, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, bleach etc.
- Money: Have cash (ATM’s and credit cards will not work when the power is out).
- Contact information: Carry a current list of family phone numbers and email addresses, including someone out of the area who may be easier to reach if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded.
- Pet Supplies: Include food, water, leash, litter box or plastic bags, tags, any medications and vaccination.
- Map: Consider marking an evacuation route on it from your local area.
Include any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities in your kit. Store your disaster supplies in a sturdy but easy-to-carry container. A large covered trash container, overnight backpack or duffel bag will work. Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle. If you become stranded or are not able to return home, having some items with you will help you be more comfortable until help arrives.
3. Get Trained:
Learning simple first aid techniques can give you the skills and confidence to help anyone in your home, your neighborhood and at work.
When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Loved ones can be hurt and emergency response can be delayed. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid and CPR and in how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The three steps below can help you to react well in an emergency:
*Check the scene for safety and the victim for life threatening conditions.
*Call 911 or your local emergency number and request professional assistance.
*Care for the victim if you can reach the person safely.
Community Disaster Education presentations can provide you with more information on how to prepare for disasters.
Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for class descriptions, times, costs and information about first aid, CPR, AED and Community Disaster Education.
Few Americans are untouched by Red Cross services-all made possible by volunteers, people like you. Our communities need our help. There are so many needs and so many ways to serve.
More than one million Americans serve their communities. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds and are of all ages. Red Cross volunteers help people in emergencies; they teach first aid classes; organize blood drives and translate so that non-English speakers can receive Red Cross services. They connect members of the armed forces stationed overseas with their families. Our vital community services are made possible by people like you. Contact your local Red Cross chapter and ask how you can help.
5. Give Blood:
Blood is needed in times of emergency, but the ongoing need is also great.
Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion-cancer patients, accident victims, premature infants, people with chronic diseases. Your blood donation means so much to individuals who need it and you can make a difference.
Giving blood doesn’t take much time. During times of crisis and every day, each blood donation has the power to help save as many as three lives. But whole blood only has a shelf life of 42 days. That is why it is so important to be a regular and frequent donor. America needs to have an adequate blood supply available at all times to meet any of the challenges we might face. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit http://www.givelife.org and make an appointment to donate blood today.
Disclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Red Cross Pamphlet. I have not worked with the Red Cross in the past so I have not experienced their services. Please call the American Red Cross for more information and stay safe.