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National Preparedness Month | 3 Tips to Prepare from American Red Cross

emergency kit and cat
Illustration by Marian Blair

This article has been adapted from American Red Cross.

Climate change affects people across the country as the U.S. faces more frequent and intense weather events. During National Preparedness Month in September, American Red Cross urges everyone to prepare for these emergencies. In 2021 more than 40% of Americans — some 130 million people — were living in a county struck by a climate disaster. American Red Cross offers preparedness tips as well as ways you can help your community prepare for potential emergencies. 

How to get ready

It takes just three simple steps to help prepare your household for potential disasters:

  • Build a kit. Build your emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, 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.
  • Make a plan. Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency. Also, consider what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate your plan with work, your child’s school, and your community’s emergency plans. Include your pets in your emergency evacuation plans. 
  • Stay informed. Find out what emergency situations may occur where you live, 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, additional considerations should be considered as part of your emergency planning. Older adults and individuals with 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 the power goes out for several days. Lastly, disasters can be scary for children. Talk with them about preparing for emergencies, staying safe, and what to expect. American Red Cross has free programs and tools to teach your children about emergency preparedness.

Help your community prepare

You can help ensure your community is ready for an emergency by volunteering, donating blood, or learning lifesaving skills. American 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 ensure families don’t have to face tough times alone. Visit American Red Cross to learn more.



Explore current American Red Cross volunteering opportunities on Idealist.