By Ryan Lang, Red Cross volunteer
January 17, 2022 (MLK Day): Walking into the office, stomping my feet to get the snow and the slush and the slop off of my boots, I thought to myself, That’s the worst commute to work I’ve ever experienced. What normally takes 25 minutes took roughly an hour and a half through the driving snow and treacherous road conditions.
February 2, 2022: After spending more than an hour shoveling more than a foot of snow from my driveway at 2 in the morning, I tried to drive to work. Didn’t make it. In fact, I only made it to the end of my driveway before my vehicle became stuck in the street. Thanks to the help of New Franklin Police Officer Shearer, I was safely guided back into my driveway, but there I stayed. There was no way I was making it to the office.
Two of the largest winter storms I can remember hit Northeast Ohio in a matter of two weeks, and both had me feeling less prepared than I’d ever felt before.
From that point on I vowed to take preparedness more seriously, and not just for the winter season. After all, I’m a dad now – what better reason?
As we’ve seen countless times in Northern Ohio, across the country, and around the world, storms can affect our lives very quickly and very seriously. That is why the American Red Cross is urging you to prepare for emergencies, right now, during National Preparedness Month all September long.
HOW TO GET READY FOR A DISASTER
It takes just three simple steps to help prepare your household for potential disasters –
1) Get a Kit – First, build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio. Also include a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool and personal hygiene items. And don’t forget to add copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
2) Make a Plan – Next, plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Make sure to coordinate your plan with your child’s school, your work and your community’s emergency plans. Include your pets in your emergency plans. Remember, if you and your family need to evacuate, so does your pet.
3) Be Informed – Finally, stay informed by finding out what emergency situations may occur where you live, work and go to school, how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.
Depending on the people in your household, there might be additional considerations to take into account as part of your emergency planning. Older adults or people with mobility, hearing, learning or seeing disabilities may need to create a support network of people that can help during an emergency. Create a plan tailored to their capabilities, any help they may need and who can provide it, especially if they need to evacuate or if the power goes out for several days.
Disasters can be scary for children. Take time to talk with your kids about preparing for common emergencies, how to stay safe and what to expect. The Red Cross has free programs and tools to help, visit redcross.org/YouthPrep for more information.
HELP GET YOUR COMMUNITY PREPARED
You can help ensure your community is ready for an emergency by volunteering, donating blood or learning lifesaving skills. Visit redcross.org to learn more.
Red Cross volunteers play critical roles in their local communities, including helping families affected by home fires and other disasters get back on their feet. Join us as a Disaster Action Team volunteer to help make sure that families don’t have to face tough times alone.
Learn lifesaving skills so you can help people in a crisis until medical professionals arrive. Sign up for first aid, CPR or other classes available online or in-person.
A strong blood supply is key to preparedness for disasters and medical emergencies, and donors can ensure blood is on the shelves the moment it’s needed. As a thank-you, all who come to give Sept. 1-18 will get a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Plus, those who race to give Sept. 1-30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win a VIP NASCAR experience, including two tickets to a 2023 race, and will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, all thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts.* Donors can schedule an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). If you are unable to give blood you can volunteer to support blood collections. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more.