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Disaster Preparedness Tips from the American Red Cross

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red cross-disaster preparedness-disaster-emergency kits
Photos Courtesy of Brad Zerivitz, American Red Cross

Disasters can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. In fact, the American Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes. Whether a family faces a hurricane or home fire, disaster preparedness is essential to building a resilient household.

While preparing for the unknown may seem like a daunting task, you can navigate potential disasters by taking three simple actions.

Build a kit  

You should have two emergency kits. You’ll create one kit for situations when you lose power or access to community resources. And the other kit as a support if an evacuation occurs. Both kits should contain enough food, water, and other basic supplies for every family member. Make sure to collect two weeks’ worth for sheltering in place and three days’ worth for an evacuation. Also, don’t forget to include essential medications, copies of important documents, and special items to accommodate children, pets, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Preparation can be done to accommodate any type of budget. Slowly build your kits by buying one extra item at a time, collect supplies you may already have in your household, or purchase pre-packaged kits from local or national retailers.

Make a plan

Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure to coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work, and your community’s emergency plans. Consider discussing plans with your extended family and neighbors, particularly those who are most vulnerable such as the elderly or disabled, to determine if they may need assistance with transportation or gathering supplies.

Stay informed  

Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information. In addition to weather alerts from your local National Weather Service office, make sure you have at least two other ways to receive disaster information. Make sure that one method of communication is not reliant on power or access to Wi-Fi.

For more information on disaster preparedness, visit Redcross.org.

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