We all remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001. No matter our age, we remember where we were and what we were doing on that historical day
Sadly, out of nowhere, a terrorist group hijacked 4 commercial airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Stonycreek Township killing 2,977 people. Since that gruesome day, the US Government has taken special steps encouraging all citizens to formulate their own survival plans. A short time after that tragedy, the month of September was chosen as National Preparedness Month to highlight the importance of being prepared. No matter what potential disaster may surface, it is vital to have an emergency plan should disaster strike.
Like most everything in life, we get out of it what we put in. If we expect the best, we need to craft a well-defined plan for safety. No matter if it is a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire or mass shooting, ready.gov offers these excellent tips to help prepare, respond and mitigate emergencies:
- Stay informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur - familiarize yourself with some of the emergency situations that may occur in your community.
- Create an emergency plan - have a discussion with every member of the household and have a plan for everyone. Have plans for the outside the home or business too in case you have to evacuate.
- Build an emergency supply kit - it is always a good idea to have an emergency kit nearby consisting of water, flashlight, batteries, non perishable food, battery operated radio and a first aid kit consisting of necessary medicines.
- Get involved in your community by taking action to prepare for emergencies - the whole community is affected by disasters so the whole community must be a part of the response. All disasters are local, ensure members of the community are prepared to respond to catastrophic events.
Since we are in the middle of the hurricane season, it is important to know the American Red Cross has been at the forefront during natural disasters in the Gulf and along the East Coast. Because there are many types of disasters occurring in communities across America, they too believe every household should take time to create a disaster plan and discuss it with family members. Everyone should have a responsibility and everybody should work together as a team. What good is a plan and responsibilities if you do not practice? It is imperative to find time to practice.
The American Red Cross has definitely done their part during National Preparedness Month helping get the word out by:
- Conducting in home visits to check smoke alarms and fire safety.
- Sharing the Pillowcase Project, a youth preparedness program for 3th - 5th graders across America.
- Participating in America's Prepare-a-thon by working with local entities supporting community initiatives.
- Serving as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.
- Collaborating with the US Fire Administration and planning fire alarm installations during Fire Prevention Week.
No mater your age, preparation and being informed is vital during disasters for all Americans. The reasoning behind the disaster plan is to allow everyone to react quickly just in case an emergency occurs. EPA.gov recommends calling 911 if you are in immediate danger especially if someone is injured, unconscious or having trouble breathing. If there is an oil, chemical or hazardous spill, call the National Response Center 800-424-8802. For pesticide poisoning call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
Do you have a plan? If not, take time to craft your disaster strategy today. Remember failing to plan is planning to fail.