As Alaskans, we all know that being prepared for disasters is especially important. Our isolation from the lower 48 and Canada means that we can expect no help for up to a week from outside sources. To prepare for such an emergency, the American Red Cross has put together some simple steps.
Make a plan
The first part of any preparations is to have a plan and to communicate that plan to your loved ones. Your plans should have two of everything:
Two contacts - one in Alaska and one out-of-Alaska.
Two meeting points - one in your neighborhood and one outside of your neighborhood.
Two ways out of every room in case of evacuation.
Build a kit
Your kit should prepare you for seven days. Food and water are essential parts of it. You should have one gallon per person per day; a water filter may be helpful.
You should also have common items like a flashlight, work gloves, a first aid kit, and copies of important documents.
These should be kept in an easily transportable item like a backpack or a bucket. Remember to have a radio with working batteries.
Radios will help provide you with information during large disasters.
You will also want to have some sort of entertainment - a deck of cards, crossword puzzles or a coloring book with crayons - disasters can be boring after the first few hours.
If you can't afford a seven-day kit, start with a three-day kit and then build your supplies a little at a time.
During big events, local emergency providers may become overwhelmed and help will be sent out on a priority basis. Your training in CPR and First Aid may provide the additional time needed for help to arrive.
Not all disasters are big events. Small disasters like choking and cardiac arrest can occur at any time.
As someone trained in First Aid and CPR, you will know what to do and may be able to save someone's life.
Volunteering before an event happens will help you and your community be prepared.
As a volunteer with the Red Cross, you can learn about the services we provide and how to deliver those services.
While volunteering, you will be building a sense of community and a network of people who may be helping you out in the next disaster.
You can also help strengthen the Red Cross position to respond to disasters by helping with fundraising, setting up Memorandums of Understanding with different organizations, by teaching about community preparedness and by volunteering to help with events that build community, train people to help or test our current capacity to respond.
Your ability to thrive in the aftermath of a major disaster is directly related to your having been prepared for the disaster.
We want you to be prepared.
The Southeast District office of the American Red Cross of Alaska will be holding Preparedness classes every Tuesday in September at noon. The classes are free.
Sept. 12 we will talk about Earthquake Preparedness, September 19th will be Preparedness Planning for businesses, and September 26 will be Landslide Preparedness.
The American Red Cross of Alaska encourages everyone to be prepared, to build a kit and have a plan in place before a disaster occurs.
The American Red Cross also will make their selves available to come to your workplace or school to talk about disaster preparedness.
These are fun and informative classes that will help educate you on the pro activeness of preparedness.
For more information or to schedule a class please call 463-5713 or stop by our offices at 3200 Hospital Dr # 203.