Red Cross: Get Prepared

September is National Preparedness Month. With that said, the American Red Cross of the Eastern Texas Panhandle is encouraging households to create a family disaster plan.Plans need to include designating a meeting place right outside the home, in case of a sudden emergency like a fire; an out-of-area emergency contact person, and a location where everyone should meet if they are not able to go home.All members of the house need to work together on the emergency plan and each person needs to know how to reach other family members.Marisa Frazier, interim executive director, said disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family’s best defense.“Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency,” she said.Red Cross tools make it easier for people to make or update plans. The American Red Cross Hurricane App for iPhone or Android smart phones helps people create a plan and share it with household members and over social networks. In addition, a template and instructions to build a plan are available at October 6, the Eastern Texas Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross will be sponsoring a volunteer rally to help attendees develop their disaster response skills. The event will take place at 108 North Russell in Pampa from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. RSVP is requested but not required. RSVP can be made by calling 806-669-7121.Frazier said everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency.“No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow,” she said.The American Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools, and communities be better prepared.•Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.•Red Cross Ready Rating is a free web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.•The Ready When The Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.•Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.•People can visit for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.