Red Cross promoting safety month

Published 6:02 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013

HOOVER, Ala., September 2, 2013 — Disasters can strike quickly and often without warning: That is the message the American Red Cross is sending throughout September during National Preparedness Month.

The American Red Cross, Alabama Region, is encouraging all households to get ready for the next emergency or disaster.

“Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs,” said Chris Osborne, communications officer for the Alabama Red Cross. “National Preparedness Month is a perfect time for Alabama residents to create or update their plan.”

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The Alabama Red Cross encourages residents to:

• Make a plan. Officials say it is important that everyone in the household helps put the emergency plan together and knows what they should do if something occurs. Household members may not be together when a disaster happens – during the day many people are at work and school. The plan should include ways to contact one another and two predetermined 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. Officials say people should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service. Any emergency plan should also include decisions about where family members will go if ordered to evacuate and what route they will take to get there. It’s a good idea to include alternate routes in case roads are closed. If pets are part of the household, make sure to include plans for them such as pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters along the evacuation route.

• Utilize Red Cross apps. Officials say the Red Cross has free mobile apps that provide information on what to do before, during and after emergencies including developing an emergency plan. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and, for Android devices, the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross.

• Make a kit. Red Cross officials say another step to get one’s household ready is to build an emergency kit in a container that is easy to carry so the family can use it at home or take it with them if asked to evacuate. It should contain, they said, 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 seven-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents.