10 Red Cross Emergency KitThe American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina urges everyone to plan for emergencies by making preparedness a priority this September during National Preparedness Month. We have recently seen emergencies impacting people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Barry Porter, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern North Carolina Region. “Helping people during disasters is at the heart of our mission. Help keep your loved ones safe — get Red Cross Ready today.”

Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in an emergency situation.

Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning. For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency.The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

National Preparedness Month is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or a blood transportation specialist to be the critical link between blood donors and recipients.

Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help save lives.

Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for a first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person.

Pictured: Learn what to pack in an emergency kit at https://rdcrss.org/3tolVEv (Photo courtesy American Red Cross)

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