With Winter Storm Fortis projected to bring heavy snowfall to much of the region, the American Red Cross in Maine is asking everyone to be prepared.
“Households need to plan as to what they would do if an emergency situation occurred,” said Dave Sheehan, regional disaster program officer for the Red Cross in Maine. “All it takes is three easy steps: get a disaster kit ready, develop an emergency plan, and be informed about what possible risks you may face where you live.” People can make a difference in the community by knowing what to do when disaster strikes. It’s just a few short steps away:
Get a kit: Those who have ever fumbled to find a flashlight during a blackout know what it feels like to be unprepared. Use a downloadable checklist available at maineredcross.org to make it easy to get an emergency preparedness kit ready. Include:
Three-day supply of nonperishable food and water, one gallon per person per day for drinking and hygiene purposes
Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA weather radio, if possible)
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit, medications, and medical items
Copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Make a plan: Talk with household members about what to do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case people become separated, and choose two places to meet – one right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire, and another outside the neighborhood in case one cannot return home or is asked to evacuate.
Choose a contact person from out of the area and make sure all household members have this person’s phone number and email address.
Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.
Practice evacuating one’s home twice a year. Drive a planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable.
Don’t forget pets. If one must evacuate, make arrangements for animals. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along evacuation routes.
Be informed: Know the risks where one lives, works, learns, and plays.
Download the winter-storm safety checklist at maineredcross.org.
Find out how to receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.
Learn first aid and CPR/AED to have the skills to respond in an emergency before help arrives, especially during a disaster when emergency responders maybe delayed. Visit redcross.org/takeaclass for online and in-class offerings and to register.
Download Red Cross apps: Download the Red Cross emergency app to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of emergencies, as well as locations of open Red Cross shelters. It is a single go-to source for 14 types of emergencies and disasters and allows users to notify loved ones who are in an affected area. People can download the apps for free in their app stores or at redcross.org/apps.