The New Year is coming and many are making their New Year's resolutions. We're asking everyone to add getting prepared for emergencies to their list for 2017.
Families need to plan as to what they should do if a disaster occurs. People can make a difference in your community by knowing what to do when disaster strikes. It’s just a few short steps away:
1. Get a kit. If you’ve ever fumbled to find a flashlight during a blackout, you know what it feels like to be unprepared. Use a downloadable checklist available on redcross.org to make it easy to get your emergency preparedness kit ready. You should include:
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and water—one gallon per person, per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit, medications and medical items
- Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Extra cash
- Choose a contact person from out of the area and make sure all household members have this person’s phone number and email address. It may be easier to call long distance or text if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service.
- Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.
- Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
- If you live or travel often to areas near a fault line, learn how to prepare and what to do during an earthquake. If summer brings to mind not just beaches and picnics but also tropical storms and hurricanes, arm yourself with information about what to do in case one occurs. Remember that emergencies like fires and blackouts can happen anywhere, so everyone should be prepared for them.
- Find out how you would receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.
- Learn First Aid and CPR/AED so that you have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders maybe delayed. Visit redcross.org/takeaclass for online and in-class offerings and to register.
2. Make a plan. Talk with household members about what you would do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case you are separated, and choose two places to meet - one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
3. Be informed. Know the risks where you live, work, learn and play.
The Red Cross Emergency App provides real-time emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of emergencies, as well as locations of open Red Cross shelters. It is a single ‘go-to’ source for 14 different types of emergencies and disasters and allows users to notify loved ones who are in an affected area. The Monster Guard App gives 7- to 11-year-olds a free, fun, gaming environment to learn how to prevent emergencies, like home fires, and how to stay safe if severe weather or natural disasters occur. You can download the apps for free in your app stores or at redcross.org/apps
The Red Cross has also partnered with New York State to offer free Citizen Preparedness Corps training. Available online or in person, the training provides information about common types of natural and man-made disasters and teaches effective ways to prepare for, respond to and recover from them as an individual, family and community.
Most of all, on behalf of all of us at the Western and Central New York Region, best wishes for a very happy--and safe!!!--2017.