By: Sophie Kluthe
September is National Preparedness Month and in light of recent widespread flooding from Hurricane Isaias, the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania encourages everyone to get ready for emergencies.
We are going through a challenging time as we navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is likely to be with us for a long time, and that is why we must prepare a little differently for other disasters that may affect our community. It might be difficult to think about, but with several hurricanes and tropical storms making landfall in the U.S. already this summer, and one severely impacting the Philadelphia area, being prepared for disasters is of utmost importance for people of all ages.
Disasters can cause sudden challenges like knocking out power, blocking roads, disrupting the response of emergency services, and causing stores and pharmacies to close for an extended period. Preparing for emergencies is a little different this year, but the three basic action steps remain the same for everyone: Build a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed. Assemble two kits of emergency supplies (a stay-at-home kit and an evacuation kit) and a one-month supply of prescription medication. Include personal hygiene items, cleaning and disinfectant supplies and cloth face coverings. Some supplies may be hard to get due to the pandemic, and availability may worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for safety tips (search “American Red Cross” in app stores).
Tips for making your plan
Disasters can force people to leave their homes, even in areas under stay-at-home mandates. By having an emergency plan your family can react quickly if a disaster strikes.
- Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them.
- Check and see if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they do, make other arrangements.
- Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open and if pets are allowed.
- Due to the pandemic, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions, available resources and shelter facilities.
- Learn first aid and CPR skills so you’ll know what to do until emergency help arrives.
- Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for weather alerts and information on what to do before, during and after disasters.
Build confidence by learning simple steps you can take now, to help prepare and protect your family. Hosted by the American Red Cross, Be Red Cross Ready is a FREE preparedness education curriculum for adults taught by certified presenters via any virtual platform. The program is designed to help people understand, prepare for and respond appropriately to disasters. To sign up for one of six free online preparedness sessions visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-disaster-preparedness-presentation-tickets-117563458469?aff=efbneb
- September 8 -Lunch time lesson (30 minutes) from 12-12:30pm
- September 9 – (1 hour) from 2-3pm
- September 16 -Lunch time lesson (30 minutes) from 12-12:30pm
- September 17 –(1 hour) from 2-3pm
- September 22 –(1 hour) from 11am-12pm
- September 24 -Lunch time lesson (30 minutes) 12-12:30pm
Additional resources for preparing during the COVID-19 pandemic are available at redcross.org/coronavirus.