ALBANY, N.Y. - In light of the possibility of severe weather due to Hurricane Sandy impacting Upstate New York, the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region (ARCNENY) urges residents to "Be Red Cross Ready" by taking steps now to prepare and be safe if severe weather arrives.
"By preparing together in advance, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger," said Matt Burns, ARCNENY Deputy Director for Emergency Services. "We strongly urge that families and communities start preparedness planning now, before the region gets hit by severe weather conditions. The Red cross can also provide assistance both during and after severe weather, flooding or hurricane conditions, for anyone that's affected and in need of our assistance."
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross strongly recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather and that they keep safety as their main priority during severe weather.
1. Get a Kit - Be Red Cross Ready!
- Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.
- At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:
- Water-one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Food-non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit - Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
2. Make a Plan: Know what to do in case of emergency
- It is important to make sure that the entire family is prepared and informed in the event of a disaster or emergency. You may not always be together when these events take place and should have plans for making sure you are able to contact and find one another.
- The American Red Cross suggests some basic steps to make sure you remain safe:
- Meet with your family or household members.
- Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen where you live, learn, work and play.
- Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team.
- If a family member is in the military, plan how you would respond if they were deployed.
- Plan what to do in case you are separated during an emergency
- Choose two places to meet:
- Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire
- Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate
- Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. It may be easier to text or call long distance if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones.
- Plan what to do if you have to evacuate
- Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel/motel, stay with friends or relatives in a safe location or go to an evacuation shelter if necessary.
- Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on your map in case roads are impassable.
- Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
- Let Your Family Know You're Safe
- If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family.
3. Be Informed: Know important information to stay safe
- Learn the types of disasters or emergencies that may likely occur in your area. These events can range from those affecting only you and your family, like a home fire or medical emergency, to those affecting your entire community, like an earthquake or flood.
- Identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster and how you will get information, whether through local radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.
- Know the difference between different weather alerts such as watches and warnings and what actions to take in each.
- Know what actions to take to protect you during disasters that may occur in areas where you travel or have moved recently. For example, if you travel to a place where earthquakes are common and you are not familiar with them, make sure you know what to do to protect yourself should one occur.
- When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Loved ones may be hurt and emergency response is likely to be delayed. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid and CPR and knows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). This training is useful in many emergency situations.
- Share what you have learned with your family, household and neighbors and encourage them to be informed.