Get ready while you can: Red Cross promotes National Preparedness Month

You can solve problems down the road by getting ready for trouble today.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – There’s never a good time for a disaster to strike, but with a little planning now, you can minimize the harm for later. With September being National Preparedness Month, it’s a great time to get ready for whatever life might throw at you.

The experts from American Red Cross are familiar with disaster preparation and disaster recovery, so who better to take us through the process? Emily Holley is Communications Manager for the Nebraska-Iowa Region of the Red Cross. She says your primary goal should be covering your bases: “The thing with preparedness is just to assume that the worst could happen, to make sure that you’re prepared no matter what might happen.”

Given Nebraska’s position in Tornado Alley, tornadoes are an excellent example of how to prepare, although the Red Cross has a full library of resources available. In the case of tornadoes, you’ll want to have your standard basics: food, water, flashlights, a weather radio, and first aid supplies, but you’ll want to make sure you have them in the basement, where they’ll be close at hand when you head downstairs for safety.

There are some things you should have that may not immediately come to mind. Do you have pets? Make sure you’ve got some extra food and water for them, too. If you have any important medications, have a few extra doses stored away. If you’ve got children, keep them in mind as well. “You want to make sure that you have stuff down there to keep them occupied and safe: coloring books, things like that”, says Holley. “I have a 3-year-old daughter, so that’s certainly something I would include.”

You’ve got other resources available to you as well. The Red Cross can help before and during a disaster, with their free apps to get you info from anywhere in the nation. They’re also ready to help after disaster strikes when they show up to lend a hand.

“We’re often the first on the scene to talk to you and find out what happened”, explains Holley. She adds the Red Cross’s plan is then to “find out what your needs are, and make sure you have a place to stay and make sure you have food. Those are kind of the two most important things right when that happens.”

That work is almost completely volunteer-driven, so another aspect of preparedness for you could be joining the American Red Cross as a volunteer to help other people in their time of need.

If you’d like additional tips about National Preparedness Month, check out Ready.gov for printable checklists and more.

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