September is National Preparedness Month

1174629_10151849763080071_1492313273_nSeptember is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross urges families to develop an emergency plan to be ready for the next emergency or disaster.

Things can happen very quickly and sometimes there are only minutes to react. Planning ahead can help keep households safe. Having an emergency plan helps families be prepared for an emergency or large-scale disaster. You can visit the Preparedness section of redcross.org to learn what steps your family can take when emergencies strike.

RED CROSS APPS Several free Red Cross mobile apps offer help creating emergency plans. Use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create an emergency plan and then share it with loved ones. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for ‘American Red Cross’. A Family Disaster Plan Template is also available for download to help make or update the plan.

HOME FIRES The most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home. National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.

You should also install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.

READY RATING Businesses and schools face a number of emergencies that could disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness such as the flu. The program features a website,readyrating.org, that enables businesses and organizations to measure how ready they are to deal with emergencies – and then gives instant customized feedback on how to improve. A free, self-paced membership program, Ready Rating begins with a comprehensive assessment of whether a business or organization is prepared to handle a disaster. Members score themselves on how prepared they are and receive steps they can take to improve their readiness planning. The assessment covers items from hazard vulnerability to continuity of operations and employee readiness.

 

Don’t wait! Take action this month to prepare you, your family, community and workplace!

Red Cross Issues Safety Tips for Labor Day Weekend

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Many people will be taking road trips, spending time at the beach and having cook outs this weekend. The American Red Cross offers safety tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable time.

“We encourage everyone to take a few simple, safety steps when spending time on the road, at the beach and at cook outs,” said Lisa StanchfieldCommunity Preparedness Specialist “Start by downloading our free First Aid and Swim apps.”

People should also follow these safety tips:

Tips for Safe Travel

* Take emergency supplies such as food and water, a flashlight and a first aid kit.

* Let someone know your destination, your route and when you expect to arrive.

* Buckle up and obey traffic signs.

* Avoid texting and talking on the phone while driving.

* Don’t drink and drive.

swim_by_american_red_cross_app_iconTips for Safe Swimming

* Check weather and beach conditions throughout the day.

* Always swim in an area supervised by a lifeguard and obey all warnings.

* Provide close and constant attention to children in or near the water.

* Stay within arm’s reach of young children and inexperienced swimmers while they are in the water.

* Young children, inexperienced swimmers and boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

Tips for Safe Grilling

* Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

* Keep children and pets away from the grill.

* Never add charcoal starter fluid after coals have been ignited.

* Use long-handled utensils.

* Don’t leave the grill unattended while in use.

The Red Cross has a series of mobile apps in case people run into severe weather or need expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency. People can go to redcross.org/apps for information.