Five Ideas For Red Cross Preparedness Month

By Joy Neighbors

September is Red Cross Preparedness Month and French Lick Resort has partnered with the American Red Cross to help promote emergency planning and preparedness for our guests and associates. It only takes a few minutes to decide how you and your family can be better prepared for disasters and emergencies. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1) Make a Home Emergency Kit
Items to gather for an in-home emergency kit:
• One gallon of water per person per day to create a 2-week supply
• Non-perishable food – enough for a 2-week supply, plus a manual can opener
• Flashlight and batteries
• Battery-powered NOAA weather radio
• Basic first aid kit
• Seven day supply of each person’s medications
• Medical supplies such as hearing aids batteries, eye glasses, contact lenses, syringes
• Baby supplies, if needed
• Games for children, if needed
• Pet supplies, food, water bowl, collar, leashes, carrier, certificates, medications
• Soap, toilet paper, paper towels and personal hygiene items for each person
• Blankets and pillows for each person
• Cell phone with charger
• Extra cash and house keys
• Family and emergency contact information along with copies of personal documents, medial information, passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, deeds and insurance policies

2) Make a Plan
Meet with members of your family and decide what each person’s responsibility will be in an emergency. Choose two places for family members to meet; one should be outside your home in the case of a home emergency, and the other should be outside your neighborhood in the event of a regional disaster. Plan the best emergency exit route from your home and practice it twice annually. Map a driving route out of your area and drive it twice a year. Plan ahead for your pets and have an out-of-area emergency contact who can take care of them for you.

3) Be Informed
• Learn the difference between a watch (conditions are favorable for a storm) and a warning (a storm is approaching now.)
• Have a designated tornado and storm shelter in your home or near your residence. Hold practice drills twice a year.
• Have a battery-operated NOAA weather radio so you can monitor a weather event.
• Make sure each family member has emergency contact information on them. Create an emergency contact card that can be carried in a pocket, purse or billfold. Or consider putting the contact info on your cell phone under the heading ICE (In Case of Emergency.) List the emergency contact person’s name and phone number where they can be reached. You can also make an ICE designation on your phone for “medical emergencies.” List medicines that are being taken or medicines you’re allergic to for possible EMT use.

4) Be Prepared for Home Fires
Did you know that more lives are lost every year in home fires than to all major disasters? It takes just two minutes for a house to be engulfed in flames. The American Red Cross has launched an initiative aimed to reduce deaths and injuries in house fires by 25% by 2020. Two simple steps can help protect your family:
• Create an escape plan and practice exiting the house with a twice-yearly fire drill.
• Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries every spring and fall.

5) Give Blood
Prepare for emergencies by giving blood. The American Red Cross is the largest  single supplier of blood in the U.S. All blood types are needed, but especially O Negative. 

Here are four nearby locations where you can donate during September and October:

Orleans High School
200 West Wilson
Orleans, Indiana
Tuesday, September 20
8:30 am to 1:30 pm

Orleans Christian Church
319 South Maple Street
Orleans, Indiana
Monday, October 3
1 pm – 6 pm

Shoals Beta Club
High School Gym
Route 50
Shoals, Indiana
Wednesday, October5
2 pm – 7 pm

Paoli Christian Church
1700 West Hospital
Paoli, Indiana
Monday, October17
1 pm – 6 pm