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Red Cross encourages local residents to be prepared for emergencies

The American Red Cross has always urged Northland residents to be prepared in case of an emergency, and with good reason. Each year, the Northland Chapter responds to about 150 disasters across the region.

The American Red Cross has always urged Northland residents to be prepared in case of an emergency, and with good reason. Each year, the Northland Chapter responds to about 150 disasters across the region.

In a time of looming war with a threat of terrorist attacks, disaster preparedness is even more important, said Bill Beasley, executive director of the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"With the possibility of war, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and everyday emergencies, being prepared can help save lives," he said Thursday, kicking off the organization's national campaign, "Together We Prepare."

The campaign urges all citizens to prepare for any type of disaster by making a plan, building a kit, getting emergency response training, volunteering and giving blood.

"We don't want to be fearmongers," said Kevin Peterson, director of development for the Northland Chapter. "We want the community to be safer and be prepared for any type of disaster."

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The five-part plan includes:

  • Make a plan: Create a disaster plan; pick two places to meet in case of an emergency, one right outside your home, another outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home; ask an out-of-state resident to be the family contact and have all family members call this person and check in after a disaster; make a plan to care for pets.
  • Build a kit: put emergency items in a duffel bag that is kept in an easy place to grab, in case of an emergency. The kit should contain water, food, changes of clothing, sleeping bags, emergency tools, flashlights, a radio, batteries and speciality items for infants and the elderly.
  • Get trained in emergency response, such as CPR and first aid. In case of emergencies, medical response may be delayed, and the Red Cross encourages at least one member of each family and a person in every business to take a Red Cross course in CPR or first aid.
  • Volunteer: The Northland Chapter of the Red Cross included nearly 700 volunteers, and more are needed.
  • Give blood: In case of national disasters, the Red Cross will implement a blood drive and will encourage area residents to participate.

"Make a plan, build a kit with supplies that make sense to you and your family, take the classes and the training that may save a life, volunteer and give blood," said Jean Till, former chair of the Northland chapter. "Then you have the satisfaction of knowing you are prepared and will have the peace of mind that goes with it."
For more information of the Together We Prepare campaign or the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross, phone, 722-0071 or go online at www.redcrossnorthland.org

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