Red Cross Disaster Relief

An American Red Cross emergency response vehicle prepares to deliver food to residents of Waverly, Tennessee, following historic flooding.

The American Red Cross of Tennessee Region urges everyone to make preparedness a priority this September as part of National Preparedness Month.

Recent emergencies have impacted people who don’t usually experience a major disaster or extreme weather, while other communities are going through the devastation of disasters multiple times a year. In Tennessee, many are still recovering from the August flooding that hit Middle Tennessee.

“Disasters can happen anywhere, anytime. We urge people to prepare now and be ready if an emergency occurs in their home or in our local community,” said Joel Sullivan, regional executive officer for the Tennessee Region of Red Cross.

HOW TO GET PREPARED

Help keep your family safe by taking three actions to: 1) Get a Kit. 2) Make a Plan. 3) Be Informed.

First, build your 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 infants or pets, multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Don’t forget to include your pets. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet. Know in advance which pet-friendly hotels are in your area, and where your pets can stay in emergency situations.

Finally, plan to stay informed by finding out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

ADDITIONAL CONCERNS

Being prepared is important for everyone. Depending on your household’s needs, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning.

For example, older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency. The Red Cross recommends creating a plan that considers each person’s capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it. This is especially important if evacuations are called for or if the power goes out for several days.

Disasters can be scary for children. It’s important to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect before a disaster happens. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help. Visit redcross.org/youthprep for more information.

HELP YOUR COMMUNITY

National Preparedness Month is also a good time to take steps to help your community get prepared for emergencies of all sizes. By volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills, you can be ready to help your loved ones and neighbors when needed. Visit redcross.org to learn more.

Red Cross volunteers play several critical roles in their local communities, including providing aid after disasters and educating people about home fire safety. People can also support local military members, veterans and their families, or volunteer as a blood donor ambassador or transportation specialist, the link between donors and recipients.

Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps to save lives in an emergency. To help prepare your community, make an appointment to donate blood or platelets and help save lives.

Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for classes available online or in-person.

The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. Visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow @RedCross on Twitter to learn more.

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