Many people in this country have experienced a significant crisis in their home or neighborhood, but less than half of the people surveyed by the American Red Cross have taken steps to be prepared for emergencies.
September is National Preparedness Month, a time set aside to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. The American Red Cross urges everyone to take steps now to be ready when emergencies happen.
In a survey, the American 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 Lynn Edwards, Director, Southeastern OK Chapter, American Red Cross. “You are your best defense against emergencies. The American 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 American Red Cross also recommends having at least two week’s 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 seven-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 CPT/AED course — a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.
You and 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 in general good health, weight at least 110 pounds and be a least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors younger than 19. 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 Southeastern OK Chapter of the American Red Cross urges area residents to make a renewed effort in September to prepare for emergencies such as fires, flood or storms. To contact the Red Cross, call 918-423-0481 or come by office at 502 E. Chickasaw Ave., McAlester.