TERRE HAUTE -- Many people in the country have experience a significant crisis in their home or neighborhood, but less than half of the people surveyed by the American Red Cross have taken steps to be prepared for emergencies.
September 2010 is National Preparedness Month, a time set aside for the past seven years to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
The Red Cross urges all to take steps now to be ready when emergencies happen.
In a survey conducted late last summer, the Red Cross found that although 89 percent of those surveyed believe being prepared is important, far fewer people are ready for when that happens.
Twenty percent of those surveyed have not done anything to get prepared and aren't sure where to get started.
"Being prepared today can save lives tomorrow," Wabash Valley Red Cross Chapter Executive Director Carol Stevens said. "You are your best defense against emergencies. The Red Cross can show you what simple steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your loved ones for emergencies."
There are three things people should do to be prepared -- build an emergency preparedness kit, make a plan as to what your family will do in an emergency, and be informed about what resources are available in your community and what types of disasters could occur there.
An emergency preparedness kit should contain enough supplies for three days. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. Supplies should include water (one gallon per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, batter-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, a seven-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents.
An emergency plan should be a joint effort, including members of the household. Make sure each person knows how to reach household members, including an out-of-area emergency contact person.
Being informed is important. Learn about what resources are available and what types of disasters are most likely to occur in the area. Take a first aid and CPR/AED course -- a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.
The Wabash Valley Red Cross Chapter urges area residents to make a renewal effort in September to prepare for emergencies such as fires, floods or storms. The Red Cross has created a free online education program to make it easier for people to be prepared.
The Be Red Cross Ready program walks people through three key preparedness steps: Getting an emergency kit, making an emergency plan and being informed. For more information, log on to www.wabashvalleyredcross.org and click on the Red Cross Ready Banner.
In addition to the online training, the chapter is offering CPR and First Aid courses and preparing for disaster workshops throughout the month, including:
* CPR/First Aid certification courses Saturday, Sept. 11, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in Terre Haute; Saturday, Sept. 18, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., in Greencastle, and 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in Switz City. All courses will include adult, infant and child CPR as well as basic First Aid. Cost is $40. To enroll, log on to www.wabashvalleyredcross.org or call 812-232-3393, and
* Preparing for Disaster Workshop, Thursday, Sept. 23, and repeated Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 7-8 p.m. Workshops are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Call 812-232-3393 Ext. 12 to register.
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter services people in Clay, Green, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.