Red Cross reminds residents to make emergency plans during National Preparedness Month
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - 11:49 am

POTSDAM – The American Red Cross of Northern New York wants North Country residents to know that September 2010 is National Preparedness Month, a time set aside each year for the last seven years to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.

The Red Cross urges everyone to take steps now to be ready when emergencies happen.

Many people in this country have experienced a significant crisis in their homes or neighborhoods, but less than half of the people surveyed by the American Red Cross have taken steps to be prepared for emergencies.

In a survey conducted late last summer, the Red Cross found that although 89 percent of those surveyed believe being prepared is important, far fewer people are ready for when that happens. Twenty percent of those surveyed have not done anything to get prepared, and aren’t sure where to get started.

“Being prepared today can save lives tomorrow,” said Olga Grant, branch manager, American Red Cross of Northern New York. “You are your best defense against emergencies. The Red Cross can show you what simple steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your loved ones for emergencies.”

There are three things people should do to be prepared: build an emergency preparedness kit, make a plan as to what your family will do in an emergency, and be informed about what resources are available in your community and what types of disasters could occur there.

Your emergency preparedness kit should contain enough supplies for three days in case you need to evacuate. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. Supplies should include water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items, and copies of important personal documents.

Your emergency plan should be a joint effort, including the members of your household. Make sure each person knows how to reach household members, including an out-of-area emergency contact person, and knows where to meet if they can't go home.

Being informed is important. Learn about what resources are available and what types of disasters are most likely to occur where you live, learn, work and play. Take a first aid and CPR/AED course—a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.

You can also give blood to help keep your community prepared. It is the blood already donated and available on hospital shelves that is available in an emergency. To give blood, you must be healthy, be at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Some states allow 16-year-olds to donate with parental consent. If you have given blood before, it must be 56 days since your last donation. For more information on giving blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org.

The Northern New York Red Cross urges area residents to make a renewed effort in September to prepare for emergencies such as fires, floods or storms. The Red Cross has created a free online education program to make it easier for people to get prepared. The Be Red Cross Ready program walks people through three key preparedness steps: getting an emergency kit, making an emergency plan, and being informed.

For more information about local activities during National Preparedness Month, contact the Northern New York Red Cross at 268-0102 or info@redcrossnny.com. You can learn more about being prepared by visiting www.redcross.org.

The general preparedness findings are based on an online survey of 1,306 U.S. residents 18 years and older conducted July 24-August 7, 2009 by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Red Cross.