This September, as part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross encourages all Americans to develop a family game plan.
It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.
The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:
• Meet with your family or household members.
• Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
• Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
• If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
• Choose two places to meet:
• 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 have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.
Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
• Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
• Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
• Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
Let Your Family Know You're Safe
If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.
Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
• Water—one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
• Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit – Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
• Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
• Cell phone with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
• Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
• Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
• Games and activities for children
• Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
• Two-way radios
• Extra set of car keys and house keys
• Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
• N95 or surgical masks
• Rain gear
• Work gloves
• Tools/supplies for securing your home
• Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
• Plastic sheeting
• Duct tape
• Household liquid bleach
• Entertainment items
• Blankets or sleeping bags
For more information visit the American Red Cross at: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/nationalpreparednessmonth
National Preparedness Month. Retrieved September 26th, 2013 from http://www.redcross.org/prepare/nationalpreparednessmonth