Every eight minutes, the Red Cross responds to emergencies.
September is National Preparedness Month and Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is encouraging all households to create a family disaster plan to make sure they are ready for the next emergency or disaster.
Plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, an out-of-area emergency contact person and a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home.
All members of the household should work together on the emergency plan and each person should know how to reach other family members.
"Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family's best defense," said Lisa Stanchfield, Community Preparedness Coordinator for the Northeast Wisconsin Chapter, which serves the Northeast Wisconsin & Michigan Border Communities.
"Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency as no one can predict where or when disasters will strike. However, we know preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow," Stanchfield said in a statement.
Red Cross tools make it easier for people to make or update plans. The American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone or Android smart phones helps people create a plan, share it with household members and over social networks.
The Red Cross will be participating in a number of community disaster education projects including:
- Daily, throughout September, the Red Cross will post special safety and preparedness tips on social media.
- Fondue Fest, downtown Fond du Lac, Saturday, Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Town of Menasha Safety Days at the Fire Department, 1326 Coldspring Road, Saturday, Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- The Northeast Wisconsin Chapter is hosting the Wisconsin Disaster Training Conference Oct.18-21 at the Gruehagen Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh Campus. Courses will span several lines of Red Cross services during times of disasters. Two 'Preparedness Education Leader's Workshop' which will provide tools and education to build preparedness skills in the community are on October 18-19. Both long-time Red Cross volunteers and those looking to become involved in community education, local disaster responses or larger disaster responses such as hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes are invited. Conference details and registration information are available at redcross.org/newisconsin.
Other Ways to Get Ready
- The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared. Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies, and Red Cross Ready Rating is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.
- The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.
- Get a kit: Assemble or purchase a portable emergency preparedness kit with enough supplies for three days in case you need to evacuate. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. Supplies should include water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents.
- If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. Your family emergency plan must include your pets. Being prepared can save their lives.
- Make a plan: Make sure each person knows how to reach household members, including an out-of-area emergency contact person, and knows where to meet if they can't go home.
- Be informed: Learn what resources are available and what types of disasters are most likely to occur where you live, learn, work and play. Take a first aid and CPR/AED course-a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.
- Keep a battery operated radio nearby with extra batteries.
National Preparedness Month is a month set-aside to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. The Red Cross, among others, urges everyone to take steps now to be ready when emergencies happen.
Residents can visit redcross.org for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.