It’s National Preparedness Month!

The aftermath of Hurricane Isaac continues to affect thousands of people along the Gulf Coast as September, National Preparedness Month begins.  During National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross is encouraging all households to create a family disaster plan to make sure they are ready for the next emergency or disaster.

As Isaac proved last week, disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense.  Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.

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.

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. In addition, instructions and a template to build a plan are available on the Red Cross website.

Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency.  No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow.

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.
  • 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.
  • Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.
  • People can visit for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.

One week after Isaac made landfall, the Red Cross continues to provide help and comfort to people along the Gulf Coast as power outages linger and communities begin the path to recovery. Extensive relief efforts include providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort for people.  Over 2,700 Red Cross are on the ground responding across multiple states.  In total, the Columbia Region has deployed 26 local volunteers and expects that number to continue to grow. The Red Cross will be in the area for weeks helping people get back on their feet.

On August 30th, siblings Jamaal, Jr., 7, Jon Weseley, 6, Jahnyray, 4, and Judge, 1, huddled under a Red Cross blanket at the Creekside Junior High shelter. The four had just arrived with their baby four-month-old sister and parents. The family of seven evacuated due to concerns about flooding in Slidell, Louisiana, the southeastern Louisiana town that many shelter residents call home

Red Cross worker David May takes care of food delivery from a high-water vehicle in Louisiana.

Click here to see more Isaac response photos.

You can help people affected by disaster like hurricanes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the country, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

 The American Red Cross, Columbia Region provides services to 28-counties in South Carolina from Aiken to Myrtle Beach.

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