September is National Preparedness Month, a timely reminder of the importance of personal preparedness. Just last year we experienced an unprecedented season of disasters, including right here in Florida where many were impacted by Hurricane Irma. Fortunately, the Red Cross can help you prepare your family, your pets, and your home for common emergencies and natural disasters.
“As vulnerable as we are in Florida to weather-related disasters, we are a resilient community when we work together to be ready,” said Jennifer Pipa, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Florida. “Personal preparedness is the best protection against the dangers of a disaster.”
Here are three steps families can take right now to get prepared:
• Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.
• Make a plan for your household in case you have to evacuate. Practice the plan to minimize confusion and fear during an event.
• Be informed about what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live and work and how to respond as safely as possible. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information.
The Red Cross is your partner in preparedness with a variety of resources to make it easier:
• Take a First Aid and CPR/AED course (redcross.org/takeaclass) so you know what to do in case emergency help is delayed.
• Download the free Red Cross Emergency App which can help keep you and your loved ones safe with more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. The app can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross, texting ‘GETEMERGENCY’ to 90999, or by going to redcross.org/apps.
• Find helpful information, checklists and videos on disaster and emergency preparedness at redcross.org/preparednessfastfacts.
Red Cross preparedness programs can give your family a great start at becoming preparedness professionals. Need additional help? That’s why we’re here! The Central Florida Region of the American Red Cross serves 19 counties through five chapters: Florida’s Space Coast (Daytona Beach), Greater Orlando, Mid-Florida (Winter Haven), Southwest Florida (Sarasota) and Tampa Bay.
Find your nearest office at redcross.org/centralflorida, and follow us on Facebook at @RedCrossCentralFlorida and Twitter at @RedCrossCFL.