Things can happen very quickly and sometimes there are only minutes to react. Planning ahead can help keep households safe. Having an emergency plan helps families be prepared for an emergency or large-scale disaster. You can visit the Preparedness section of redcross.org to learn what steps your family can take when emergencies strike.
RED CROSS APPS Several free Red Cross mobile apps offer help creating emergency plans. Use the ‘Make a Plan’ feature in the apps to create an emergency plan and then share it with loved ones. The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for ‘American Red Cross’. A Family Disaster Plan Template is also available for download to help make or update the plan.
HOME FIRES The most common disaster threat people face across the country is a fire in their home. National Preparedness Month is a good time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household. When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and – no matter the circumstances – stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.
You should also install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.
READY RATING Businesses and schools face a number of emergencies that could disrupt their operations, ranging from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and floods to outbreaks of illness such as the flu. The program features a website,readyrating.org, that enables businesses and organizations to measure how ready they are to deal with emergencies – and then gives instant customized feedback on how to improve. A free, self-paced membership program, Ready Rating begins with a comprehensive assessment of whether a business or organization is prepared to handle a disaster. Members score themselves on how prepared they are and receive steps they can take to improve their readiness planning. The assessment covers items from hazard vulnerability to continuity of operations and employee readiness.