Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime —even in someone’s own home. September is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross is urging everyone to take three easy steps to get their household ready for emergencies.
These three action steps are as follows: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed. This week we will give you all the details on how to make your emergency plan so you and your loved ones can react quickly when a disaster strikes.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN
With your family or household members, discuss how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play. Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team. Practice as many elements of your plan as possible.
Be familiar with natural disaster risks in your community. Consider how you will respond to emergencies that are unique to your region, such as hurricanes, floods or tornadoes.
Consider how you will respond to emergencies that can happen anywhere, such as home fires and floods.
Think about emergencies that may require your family to shelter in place (such as a winter storm), vs. emergencies that may require evacuation (such as a hurricane).
Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should carry emergency contact information in writing and saved on their cell phones. Make sure places where your children spend time also have these contact numbers, like at school or daycare.
Your plan should account for family members who may live elsewhere during the year, such as members of the military on deployment or students away at college, or those who travel frequently.
How will you need to adapt your plan if they are at home?
What will you need to do differently if they are away?
Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there, such as:
The home of friends or relatives a safe distance away
An evacuation shelter
Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Grab your emergency kit, just like you will in a real emergency, then drive your planned evacuation route. Plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable. Make sure you have locations and maps saved on devices such as cell phones and GPS units and on paper.
Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either.
Some members of your household – senior citizens, people with disabilities, children – may need special accommodations during an emergency, which means planning ahead is even more crucial.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.