It’s National Hurricane Preparedness Week and the American Red Cross has put together some crucial steps people should take now to get ready for hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
Hurricanes are thought to typically cause the most problems for those living in coastal areas, but it’s important to know that these storms can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland. In 2011, tropical storms caused devastating flooding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey hundreds of miles from the coast. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes ravaged the mid-Atlantic region from central Virginia through Pennsylvania to New York.
“A hurricane is a serious threat to residents in coastal areas as well as hundreds of miles inland,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Services Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “We’re ready, and we want people to know it’s important for them to get prepared, too.”
Thousands of trained Red Cross disaster workers all over the country are prepared to respond if and when needed. The organization stocks items like food, cots, blankets, and other relief supplies in warehouses across the country — enough to support thousands of people who might need shelter. Through a variety of methods and partnerships, the Red Cross has the ability to serve one million meals a day, if needed. Thousands of shelter locations are already identified and Red Cross emergency vehicles are ready to move into action.
Getting ready for hurricane season now is the best way to be prepared for these dangerous storms. Hurricane preparedness should include:
- Build an emergency kit containing one gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, any necessary medications, supplies for an infant or child if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important documents, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store.
- Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan will minimize confusion and fear during a necessary evacuation.
- Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required, and make plans for pets.
- People should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during, and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time to make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If a household emergency plan is already in place, begin talking about it with family members so that everyone knows what to do if an emergency should occur.
The Red Cross Ready Rating™ program helps businesses, schools, and other organizations prepare for emergencies that can disrupt daily operations by offering specific steps that can be taken to be better prepared. It includes a planning tool to help their employees or members know what their roles are in the early hours of an emergency, what their next steps are, and a resource center with tools that help businesses, employees, and students develop and practice preparedness plans.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarianism aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. To find out more about the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org, cruzrojaamericana.org, or follow them on Twitter at @RedCross.