Celebrate National Preparedness Month: Make a plan, get a kit, be informed!

September is National Preparedness Month.  There are many ways that your family and community can prepare for an emergency. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be showcasing some of the simple steps that you can take to get prepared.

Oklahoma Tornado One Year Report 2014Carney, Oklahoma Home Kit DeliveryThe simplest way to prepare for a crisis is to have an emergency kit ready to go. An emergency kit is made up of basic necessities that will help you and your loved ones survive sheltering in place. (To shelter in place means that you are staying in a safe space in your home for any amount of time, like when you go to your basement or other enclosed area during a tornado warning.)

The core items needed for a basic emergency kit are available at many of the locations where you do your weekly shopping, so it doesn’t even require a special trip to get started!

Your kit should include:

  • Water
    • one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food
    • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables
    • Protein or fruit bars
    • Dry cereal or granola
    • Peanut butter
    • Dried fruit
    • Nuts
    • Crackers
    • Canned juices
    • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
    • High energy foods
    • Vitamins
    • Food for infants
    • Comfort/stress foods
  • Can Opener
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
    • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
    • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
    • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
    • 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
    • 5 antiseptic wipe packets
    • 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
    • 1 blanket (space blanket)
    • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
    • 1 instant cold compress
    • 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
    • 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
    • Scissors
    • 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
    • 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
    • 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
    • 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
    • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
    • 2 triangular bandages
    • Tweezers
    • First aid instruction booklet
  • 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 – paper copies and on a usb stick)
  • Cell phone and/or chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket(s)
  • Map(s) of the area

Don’t forget to include specialized items for all of your family members, especially the tiny or four-legged ones! If relevant, be sure to include:

  • Baby supplies
    • Bottles
    • Formula
    • baby food
    • diapers
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies
    • Collar
    • leash
    • ID
    • Food
    • Carrier
    • Bowl
  • Medical supplies
    • hearing aids with extra batteries,
    • glasses
    • contact lenses
    • syringes, etc

And some additional supplies that would be good to keep at home or in your survival kit (based on the types of disasters common to your area):

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

For more information on building an emergency kit, visit www.redcross.org/prepare or download our free Situational Emergency apps.

On Twitter? Show us your kit! Tweet a picture, tag @neoredcross and use the hashtag #NatlPrep. 

Learn more about Flood Safety Awareness with a new app from the Red Cross

On average, there are 89 fatalities and more than $8.3 billion dollars in damage each year as a result of flooding. Floods and flash floods are the most common, and costliest, weather related disaster in the United States. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the organization that monitors and manages weather and ocean related data, predicts that minor flooding will occur this spring in Northeast Ohio. That prediction does not take in to consideration the potential for flash flooding, a type of flooding that occurs when water rises in a short amount of time, quickly with little or no warning.

In an effort to get the word out about the deadly nature of flooding, NOAA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) observe Flood Safety Awareness week from March 16 through 22.

Screen Shot from the Flood App, now available from the American Red Cross.

Screen Shot from the Flood App, now available from the American Red Cross.

To celebrate, the American Red Cross released a free, Flood app.  The app helps users gain more information about how to prepare for and respond to a flood in their area. It features interactive quizzes and awards users with badges that can be shared on social networks.

Want to build an emergency kit in preparation? The app can help with that!

Most importantly, the app can be used during a flood. It provides an audible and location specific alert when a Flood Warning or Watch is in effect, plus a toolbox of helpful features such as turning a smart phone’s camera flash into a flashlight and helping the user post the message “I’m safe” on social networks. It will also map out area Red Cross shelters.

The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store or visit redcross.org/apps