American Red Cross urges the community to prepare

Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life threatening dangers property flooding, storm, high winds and tornadoes. The American Red Cross urges everyone to upgrade their family evacuation plan, emergency preparedness kits and prepare better for the 2011 hurricane season. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.

"Taking three basic preparedness actions you can become red cross ready for hurricanes and other emergencies, the steps are 1) Get a kit, 2 make a plan) and 3) be informed," said Sharyn Baggett, American Red Cross Director of emergency services.  The chapters of Southeast Georgia is here to help you get prepared for specific disasters like hurricanes. Even if you have taken action to prepare the last hurricane season, it is important to review and update the communication plan and monitor your emergency preparedness kit for expired items. "

The American Red Cross recommends the following actions:

Obtain or mount an emergency preparedness kit:
A portable lighting kit, stored in a sturdy, easy to carry, water-resistant container should have enough supplies for three days. Check your kit and replace perishable supplies every six months. If you buy a kit or choose to build your own, your three-day kit should include:
• Water-1 gallon per person, per day.
• Non-perishable food items, easy to prepare as tuna, peanut butter, crackers and canned fruit. Be sure to include a manual can opener.
• A battery or crank radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
• A first aid kit.
• Prescription drugs and non-prescription. Include medical supplies such as extra batteries, syringes, etc.
• Copies of important documents, including birth certificates, insurance policies and social security cards.
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
• Extra cash. Bancomat and credit cards won't work if the power is out.
• Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
• A blanket or sleeping bag per person.
• Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, bowls and carrier).


Prepare a family evacuation plan.
The American Red Cross urges every family to develop a household emergency plan.
• Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss the information that you collected and why it is important to prepare for a disaster.
• Identify two meeting places; A right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire and one outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
• Be sure to make advanced preparations for your pets. Be aware that pets are not allowed in shelters. Contact hotels, motels, family members and animal shelters to see if they would allow animals in an emergency situation. Keep a contact list of "pet friendly". If you are asked to evacuate, take your pets with you.
• Choose an emergency contact person outside the area. During or after a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance, especially if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your emergency contact person's telephone number and email address.
• Tell your family safe and well website accessible at all times via  The safe and well Web site is an Internet-based tool that lets people directly affected by a disaster to let you know of their well-being to their loved ones. People within a disaster area concerned are able to select and post standard messages "safe and well". Worried family members who know the person's phone number (home, cell or work) or a complete home address can search for messages sent by those who register.
• Show and explain to each family member how and when to turn off water and electricity at the main switches. Turn off gas only if supplied by local authorities. Remember, if the gas is shut-off, only a professional can turn it back on.
• Plan your evacuation route. Use local maps and identify alternate evacuation routes from home, work or school. Know where you're going and how you plan to arrive before you leave home.

Be informed.
• Find out what types of disasters are likely to occur in your area and how to prepare for each.
• Find out how local authorities will contact you during a disaster. Listen to local media broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest weather conditions and follow the advice of local authorities.
• Contact the Red Cross of Southeast Georgia (Savannah) for details on community disaster education presentations are available in the organisation of work, school, or community or can be arranged.
• Training in CPR and first aid, so you will know how to respond to emergencies in cases where the aid is delayed.
• If you are told to evacuate, not so immediately. You can choose to evacuate sooner than notify if you think you may need extra time.

Know what to do if a hurricane watch is issued.
• Listen to weather updates from your battery-powered radio or a crank.
• Bring in external objects such as garden furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools, anchor items that cannot be brought inside.
• Close all Windows and doors. Cover the Windows with storm shutters or plywood.
• If time permits and you live in an area identified surge, elevate furniture or move it to an upper floor to protect it from floods.
• Fill the gas tank in your vehicle.
• Check your disaster supplies kit to ensure that the items have not yet expired.


Know what to do if a hurricane warning is issued.
• Listen to the advice of local officials to leave and if they tell you to do so.
• In case of a prefabricated house, check tie-downs and evacuate as mentioned by local authorities.
• Ensure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
• If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from Windows, skylights and floor-to-ceiling Windows.
• Do not use naked flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps as a light source.
• If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce the damage from a power surge when the electricity is restored.

For more information about Hurricane Preparedness, contact the chapters of Southeast Georgia of the American Red Cross at (912) 651-5300, visit or call 1-800-Red Cross

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