Friday, January 28, 2011

Did dad burn toast again, or is the house on fire?

We go to schools, local companies, organizations, clubs, community centers, churches and just about anywhere else you could think of to present to the community about how to be “Red Cross Ready.”  These presentations are largely to inform you about what we do at the Red Cross, what constitutes an emergency, how to develop an emergency plan and kit and to help you start thinking about how you’re going to get information during an emergency and survive.   
But these presentations aren’t just for you, they’re also for us. 
All of the questions and comments that you make during these presentations open our eyes to what the community is thinking, and also how we should be focusing the material we are presenting.  For example, in an elementary school today a student asked if they’re supposed to leave there home every time the smoke alarm goes off… because their mom burns dinner a lot! And that is an interesting question that we hadn’t really thought about before.  We often just assume that our smoke alarms are going off because   someone is burning something, and because of that, we don’t respond and react as we normally would. 
Personally, if a smoke alarm wasn’t turned off within a minute, I would go check for smoke, fire or a really bad cook, but you don’t want your children looking for fire when they should be evacuating! 
So, this is a conversation that parents should be having with their children.   If your household has any exception to the evacuation rule, such as if mom or dad is in the kitchen cooking and the smoke alarm goes off for 20 seconds before they can reset it, then you don’t need to evacuate.  However, if it is 11:00pm, no one is yelling “it’s alright,” and the smoke alarm is going off for more than a minute, then you need to evacuate and go to the outdoor family meeting place.
So be sure to have these conversations with your family.  If no one is on the same page now, it will make an emergency a lot more confusing.  So make a plan, get a kit and stay informed!!
For more information, please visit our emergency preparedness section online and to schedule a presentation for your work, church or other organization please contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at (716) 878-2231 or to set up a presentation, or visit the Chapter online for preparedness tips.

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