Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Importance of Being Prepared

Unfortunately, between fires, drownings and even a possible tornado, we've had several recent incidents across the Western New York/Finger Lakes Region that remind us that disaster can strike anywhere, anytime. These tragedies are why we preach emergency preparedness and encourage everyone to take steps now to keep their family safe.

The most recent incident occurred late Tuesday evening, when a storm tore the roof off at least one home and knocked out power for hundreds in the Chemung County town of Baldwin. As the National Weather Service investigates to see if the damage was caused by a possible tornado, (UPDATE: The National Weather Service has since confirmed that a tornado did touch down in Baldwin) Red Cross Disaster Assessment volunteers are also on the ground, gathering the information we'll need to help the community recover from this storm.

Unfortunately, Upstate New York is become all too familiar with tornadoes this summer, and one way to prepare is to download the FREE Red Cross Tornado App. In addition to severe weather alerts that will let your family know when to take cover, the app also provides safety tips so you're family will know what to do if a storm rolls into your area.

The long holiday weekend also provided a tragic reminder of the importance of water safety after three drownings in Erie County. The summer may be coming to a close, but pools are still open, and natural bodies of water never close. Please, do whatever you can to help prevent these unthinkable tragedies. Make sure that you and your family learn to swim and take the proper safety precautions. Take a CPR/First Aid class and download the free First Aid app to help help you respond if an emergency does occur.

And the Labor Day weekend provided no break for our volunteers, who have responded to eight fires in Erie, Niagara and Orleans Counties alone since Saturday, providing food, clothing, comfort and support for 32 people, including four Tuesday evening in Lyndonville.

The American Red Cross is currently partnering with New York State to offer Governor Andrew Cuomo's Citizen Preparedness Corps training program, "Prepare, Respond, Recover: What to do When Disaster Strikes." The program provides residents with the tools and knowledge to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond accordingly and recover to pre-disaster conditions as quickly as possible. If you'd like to help your community stay safe by scheduling a Citizen Preparedness Corps training at your school, business or other organization, please email Justin Pitts or call (716) 878-2238.