This year will forever be known as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of 2020, many of us have had to evaluate our safety and security and that of our families, employees, and clients due to this virus. Facing our vulnerability can be difficult for those who may not have considered the unexpected challenges an emergency like this can pose. Everyone can become less vulnerable to disasters by becoming better prepared to handle them. Emergency preparedness may seem difficult or time consuming, but with a little help from agencies like the Red Cross (Red Cross US, Red Cross CA, Red Cross UK, Red Cross AUS, Red Cross ICRC) it’s actually easy to achieve. Below are some simple and useful tips everyone can do.

Be Informed

Understand which disasters are likely to occur in your area and what you must know to stay safe. Disasters like major snowstorms to wildfires can range by country and region, while some disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic can impact all of us. One easy way to gain knowledge is to download and activate one or all of the Red Cross’s Emergency Apps, which are available for cell phones and Alexa devices through the Apple or Google App stores.

Obtain Emergency Supplies

Gather the essential supplies to put in your survival kit. Survival kits are more than just basic food and water, they are designed to help cover you for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes. Kits should include necessities like power supplies, hygiene products, communication tools, emergency contact information, medical and financial documents, and things important to you, such as family photos. Purchasing a ready-made supply kit is a quick and effective way to getting much closer to being prepared. Supply kits will vary by location and are best obtained from your local Red Cross or supply store. Creating a personalized kit will enable you to factor in your specific circumstances and needs. To assist you in preparing your survival kit, review the linked emergency preparedness checklist.

Make a Plan

Ensure you can effectively respond in case of an emergency. Planning to emergency proof your home takes thought and practice. Basic, everyday steps help keep everyone prepared. Teach each household member how and when to turn off water, gas, oil, and electricity.  Make sure your residence has enough smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with up-to-date batteries and a fire extinguisher. Also, protect yourself by maintaining adequate insurance on your living space, personal belongings, and vehicle. If you have children living with you, make sure they know their last name, address, and phone number.

Learn CPR and First Aid

Emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time and can happen to those closest to you. Taking the time to learn lifesaving skills is the best gift you could give to someone else. Contact your local Red Cross organization for available class times.

Expect the unexpected and take the time to plan for yourself and others. You may not be able to keep emergencies from happening, but you can control how you prepare for them.