"Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so
everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs," said
Colleen Stone, chief executive officer of the Illinois Capital Area
Chapter of the Red Cross. "National Preparedness Month is a perfect
time for west-central Illinois residents to create or update their
Make a plan.
It is important that everyone in the household helps put the
emergency plan together and knows what they should do if an
emergency 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. 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.
Red Cross apps
The Red Cross has free mobile apps that provide information on
what to do before, during and after emergencies, including
developing an emergency plan. "People can use the 'Make a Plan'
feature in the apps to create their plan and then share it with
their loved ones," Stone said. "The preloaded content in the apps
gives people access to vital information to use during emergencies,
even if they can't connect to the Internet." The apps can be
downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for
Android by searching for "American Red Cross."
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Other ways to get ready
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 a three-day supply of water (1 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 multipurpose tool,
sanitation and personal hygiene items, and copies of important
personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least
two weeks' worth of emergency supplies at home.
Everyone also needs to stay informed about what types of
disasters are most likely to occur where they live or in places
where they plan to visit. It is also important to take a first-aid
and CPR/AED course -- a vital component of disaster preparedness in
case emergency help is delayed. Visit
redcross.org/takeaclass to find local class offerings.
[Text from file received from the
American Red Cross,
Illinois Capital Area Chapter]