EASTERN NC, December 26, 2012 — As severe weather threatens our area, the American Red Cross urges residents to be prepare themselves and their families. “Disasters can happen anytime, it’s important that everyone has a plan,” said Bill Brent, Regional CEO for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross. “Simple steps such as talking with your family about what to do if there is an emergency and building a preparedness kit can offer peace of mind when faced with emergency situations.”
The Red Cross encourages everyone to stay alert to local weather authorities and take any/all precautions necessary to protect yourself and your family. As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death.
The American Red Cross recommends the following preparedness actions:
- Make a Home Disaster Plan: Pick a safe place in your home for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Protect your animals by ensuring that any outside buildings that house them are protected in the same way as your home. Remove animals from vulnerable dog houses and similar small structures.
- Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and other emergency items for the whole family.
- Heed Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life or death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for tornadoes by:
- Creating and practicing a Home Tornado Plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible: a basement, a center hallway, a bathroom or a closet. Putting as many walls between you and the outside provides additional protection.
- Preparing for High Winds: Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Install permanent shutters on your windows and add protection to the outside areas of sliding glass doors. Strengthen garage doors
Other Ways to Get Ready
The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared.
- American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone or Android smart phones helps people create a plan, share it with household members and over social networks.
- A Family Disaster Plan Template is available at http://www.redcross.org.
- Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.
- Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.
- The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
- Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.
- People can visit redcross.org for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.