Are you prepared?
None of us wants to think about facing a potential disaster. But, being prepared is our best line of defense and could potentially ensure the safety and well being of our loved ones. The following are some excellent tips from the American Red Cross.
Make A Plan
Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response.
- Talk: Discuss with your family the disasters that can happen where you live. Establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. Designate a back-up in case someone is absent.
- Plan: Choose two places to meet after a disaster:
- 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 your neighborhood.
- Learn: Each adult in your household should learn how and when to turn off utilities such as electricity, water and gas. Ask someone at the fire department to show you how to use the fire extinguisher you store in your home.
- Check supplies: Review your disaster supplies and replace water and food every six months.
- Tell: Let everyone in the household know where emergency contact information is kept. Make copies for everyone to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact. It may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Keep the information updated.
- Practice: Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable or grid-locked. Practice tornado and fire drills at home, school and work.
Build a Kit
What you have on hand when a disaster happens can make a difference.
- Water: Have at least one gallon per person per day.
- Food: Pack non-perishable, high-protein items, including energy bars, ready-to-eat soup, peanut butter, etc. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water.
- Flashlight: Include extra batteries.
- First aid kit: Pack a reference guide.
- Medications: Don’t forget prescription and non-prescription items.
- Battery-operated radio: Include extra batteries.
- Tools: Locate a wrench to turn off gas if necessary, a manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, tarp and garbage bags with ties.
- Clothing: Provide a change of clothes for everyone, including sturdy shoes and gloves.
- Personal items: Remember eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution; copies of important papers, including identification cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.; and comfort items such as toys and books.
- Sanitary supplies: You’ll want toilet paper, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, bleach, etc.
- Money: Have cash. (ATMs and credit cards won’t work if the power is out.)
- Contact information: Carry a current list of family phone numbers and e-mail addresses, including someone out of the area who may be easier to reach if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded.
- Pet supplies: Include food, water, leash, litter box, tags, any medications and vaccination information.
- Map: Mark an evacuation route on it from your local area.
Include any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities in your kit. Store your disaster supplies in a sturdy, but easy-to-carry container. A large covered trash container, overnight backpack or duffel bag will work. Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle. If you become stranded or are not able to return home, having some items with you will help you be more comfortable until help arrives.
Learning simple first aid techniques can give you the skills and confidence to help.
When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Loved ones can be hurt and emergency response can be delayed. Make sure that at least one member of your household is trained in first aid and CPR and in how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). The three steps below can help you to react well in an emergency:
- Check the scene for safety and the victim for life-threatening conditions.
- Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number and request professional assistance.
- Care for the victim if you can reach the person safely.
MCMC is the Raton Community Training Center for American Heart Association CPR classes. Call 445-4516 to get more information about CPR classes available in Raton.
Almost all Americans are touched by Red Cross services-All made possible by people like you.
More than one million Americans serve their communities as volunteers. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds and are of all ages. Red Cross volunteers help people in disasters, teach first aid classes, organize blood drives, and translate so that non-English speakers can receive Red Cross services. They connect members of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed overseas with their families at home. We can be there because of people like you.
Contact your local Red Cross chapter or call: 1-800-417-0495. Web site is: www.redcross.org
Blood is needed in times of emergency, but the ongoing need is also great.
Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion- cancer patients, accident victims, premature infants, people with chronic diseases. Your blood donation means so much to individuals who need it and you can help make a difference. Giving blood doesn’t take much time. During times of crisis and every day, each blood donation has the power to help save as many as three lives. But whole blood only has a shelf life of 42 days. That is why it is so important to be a regular and frequent donor.
Community Blood Drives are scheduled throughout the year at various locations.
To get more information about upcoming Blood Drives in our area, call United Blood Services at 1-800-333-8037.
Here you can download and print additional information regarding disasters and pandemic flu outbreaks.
Having a plan for your family and household will ensure your preparedness for a possible outbreak
A list of planning steps to help you be prepared for a possible flu epidemic
A pandemic flu checklist to help you get prepared for any disaster.