PUBLISHED: 4:01 PM on Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Football season brings time to prepare
American Red Cross of Southeast Alaska
It's third and long, the coach's job is on the line and the only hope for survival is to complete a Hail Mary in the end zone.

The coach has drawn up the play - a play the player's have practiced every day over the course of the season. Now it's up to them to execute that play. As the offensive line approaches the ball, the center notices a change in defensive coverage on the right side and signals a new protection scheme by yelling drop and roll, drop and roll, drop and roll. This signal gives the quarterback enough information to adjust to the situation and complete a pass to his tight end who runs into the end zone as time expires.

The football season is the perfect time to prepare. Just like in football, we to need a game plan in the event of a disaster. We need to be able to execute that plan and adapt it to the prevailing conditions.

If there is a fire in your home and your primary escape route is blocked do you have an alternate way out?

If there is an earthquake and the roads are impassible do you have enough supplies to sustain you and your family until help can arrive? If someone in your home experiences a breathing emergency, have you practiced the skills you need to save their life?

Take the time to sit down with your family and discuss disaster preparedness, form a plan and practice that plan at least once every six months. Make it fun and run a two-minute drill, can your family get out of the house with the disaster kit in two minutes? How about one minute?

While you are out buying food and drinks for game time, pick up something extra to put in your disaster supplies kit. When you throw that big party for all of your friends, inform them that the halftime activities will involve disaster planning.

When your wide out makes an incredible catch to score that big touchdown, make sure your victory dance will help you and your friends know what to do during a disaster. You can do the stop, drop and roll or the crawl low because your team is on fire.

Or maybe your team just got rocked and you need to drop, cover and hold on. Is your team winning by a landslide? Then maybe you need to inform the other team that they need to wake up and get out of the way. If you happen to be watching Ice Bowl 2 and your team seems to have gone cold, then it might be time to pile on the food and bring them into the locker room so they can heat up.

Only one team can be the next Super Bowl Champion, but by being prepared for disasters, we all win. That's why the American Red Cross of Alaska is teaming up with you, so everyone can be Red Cross Ready.

We are ready to provide you with a game plan and to coach you in the skills to save a life. We are ready to teach your children about fire safety and run them through earthquake drills. We are ready to help your business prepare for the unexpected and be able to keep its doors open. The question is, "Are you ready?"

Every day emergencies occur across the country and across the world. Tsunamis, earthquakes, fire and floods all require different preparation. Like a center spotting a tornado blitz from the defense and signaling for a change in play, we must also learn to spot those things in our community that may signal us to get with our game plan.

What can you do to prepare? Learn about the different types of disasters we can experience in our communities and how to respond to those disasters. From emergency food and water to CPR training, from a first aid kit to emergency cash on-hand, we all need to be sure that our plan is made and executed with precision when it is needed and that we can adapt when the situation calls for it.

If you would like more information on preparedness, you can visit or you can call our office to register for our Emergency Planning 101 - disaster planning for businesses on September 19 at noon or Landslide Preparedness on September 26 at noon. Both classes are free.