TERRE HAUTE -- Many people have experienced a significant crisis in their home or neighborhood, but less than half of the people surveyed by the American Red Cross have taken the steps to be prepared for emergencies.
September is National Preparedness Month, a time to set aside for the last seven years to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities.
The Red Cross urges everyone to take steps now to be ready when emergencies happen.
In a survey conducted 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 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, including building an emergency preparedness kit, make a plan as to what the family will do in an emergency, and be informed about what resources are available in the community and what types of disasters could happen there.
An emergency preparedness kit should contain enough supplies for three days in case of evacuation. 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, battery 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.
The emergency plan should be a joint effort, including the members of the household. Make sure each person knows how to reach household members, including an out-of-area emergency contact person, and knows where to meet if they can't reach home.
Being informed is important. Learn about what resources are available and what types of disasters are most likely to occur. Take a first aid and CPR/AED course -- a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.
The Wabash Valley Chapter urges area residents to make a renewed 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 get prepared. The Be Red Cross Ready program walks people through three key preparedness steps, including 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.
The chapter is also offering CPR and First Aid courses and preparing for disaster workshops throughout the month. The schedule includes:
* Saturday, at Greencastle, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and in Switz City, from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. All courses will include adult, infant and child CPR as well as basic first aid. The fee is $40. To enroll, call 812-232-3393 or log on to www.wabashvalleyredcross.org, and
* Preparing for Disasters Workshop Thursday, Sept. 23, and repeated Wednesday, Sept. 29, from 7-8 p.m. Workshops are open to the public and there is no cost. Pre-registration is required. Call 812-232-3393 Ext. 12 to register.
The chapter is also available to schedule CPR/First Aid courses and disaster preparedness workshops for groups and businesses. For more information, call 812-232-3393.
The American Red Cross Wabash Valley Chapter provides services to residents in Clay, Greene, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Edgar County in Illinois.