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Are You 'Red Cross Ready?'

November 11th, 2011 9:59 am by Staff Report

The American Red Cross, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Defense, is reminding Americans that the best way to make their families and homes safer is to be prepared before disaster strikes.

Violent storms, floods, fires, snow storms and power outages all serve to remind us that a disaster can happen anywhere, at any time. While most of those disasters are out of our control, how we prepare for them and how we react to them is not.

According to executive director Glenda Bobalik and emergency services director Dawn Day of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee, there are three principles to keep in mind to "Be Red Cross Ready."

1) Get a kit: Assistance may not be readily available, so consider the following when assembling or restocking your kit to ensure your family is prepared for any disaster:

* Store at least three days of food, water and supplies in your family's easy-to-carry preparedness kit.

* Keep extra supplies on hand at home in case you cannot leave the affected area.

* Keep your kit where it is easily accessible.

* Remember to check your kit every six months and replace expired or outdated items.

2) Make a Plan: Know, well ahead of time, what your family will do in an emergency.

* Choose a meeting place, in the event a disaster occurs when you’re not together.

* Learn how and when to turn off utilities and how to use life-saving tools such as fire extinguishers.

* Tell everyone where emergency information and supplies are stored. Provide copies of the family’s preparedness plan to each member of the family. Always ensure that information is up-to-date and practice evacuations, following the routes outlined in your plan. Don’t forget to identify alternative routes.

* Include pets in your plans.

3) Be Informed: It’s important to know not only what resources are available in your community, but also the types of disasters that could occur there.

* Learn the ways you would get information during a disaster or an emergency. Know what local alarm systems are in place and what they mean.

* Familiarize yourself with the various natural and man-made disasters that could occur where you live.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee offers a variety of training courses and classes for both individuals and organizations.

In addition, as the holidays approach, the American Red Cross has a variety of ready-made kits available for purchase - any of which would make an excellent gift for friends and loved ones. Locally, the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee offers: Emergency preparedness kits, first aid kits in a variety of sizes, road hazard kits, CPR kits, and a first aid kit for pets.

The American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee is located at 501 S. Wilcox Drive in Kingsport, and serves eight counties in Northeast Tennessee. Regular office hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 423-378-8700 or visit the website at:

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