Your Disaster Kit: Better Than a Magic Wand?

Magic Wand or Bust? Or, Our Favorite Disaster Kit Fail courtesy of Carrie Carlson-Guest.
Magic Wand or Bust? Or, Our Favorite Disaster Kit Fail courtesy of Carrie Carlson-Guest.

September is National Preparedness Mont and a great time to get Red Cross Ready for disasters. 

We know – so far your approach to preparedness has looked like a magic wand in a bin. Or maybe it looks like this “kit you don’t want to have” or one of these disaster kit fails.

While we can’t auto-magically get you prepared for disasters, we can give you the tools you need.  The basic steps include making a plan, building a kit and being informed.

Make a Plan Planning together is important. Everyone in the household should help develop the emergency plan and know what they should do if something occurs. The plan should include ways to contact and find one another. Include two places to meet – one near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. The plan should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service.

Often people are not at home when a disaster occurs and they may not be able to get back into their neighborhood. Plans should include decisions about where everyone will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there. When discussing evacuation, everyone should include several different routes in case roads are closed. If pets are part of the household, they should be considered, including where they could be safe if the family has to evacuate such as pet-friendly motels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

Get a Kit Another step to get ready is to build an emergency kit. Use an easy-to-carry container so the family can use it at home or take it with them if asked to evacuate. It should contain a three-day supply of water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home.

Be Informed Everyone also needs to stay informed about what types of disasters are most likely to occur where they live or where they plan to visit, and how officials will communicate with you during an emergency. It’s also important to take a first aid and CPR/AED course—a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed. Click here to find a class near your local Red Cross chapter.

Red Cross Apps People can be ready for whatever comes their way by downloading the free Red Cross apps for mobile devices which not only help people during emergencies, but offer help creating their emergency plan. The apps give people vital information to use during emergencies, even if they can’t connect to the internet. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

Happy National Preparedness Month!

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