A recent national survey found that only 7 percent of Americans have taken the recommended actions to prepare for disasters, according to the Grant Wood Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in Cedar Rapids.
"I think people don't want to think that something bad can happen. You never think it's going to happen to you," says Tina Coleman, regional response director for the local chapter. "But the more prepared you are, the less panicked you will be if something does happen."
If you've failed to plan, consider using this month - National Preparedness Month - as a reason to get ready for the unexpected. The American Red Cross says there are three key steps to being prepared for any disaster:
- Get a kit. Have at least three days of supplies in an easy-to-carry evacuation kit and have a separate two-week supply on hand in case you're stranded in your home. Here's a list of supplies to include in your kit. Don't forget to plan for every member of your household (think diapers for your baby and food for your dog).
- Make a plan. Meet with your family members, and discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies. Here's how to get started.
- Be informed. Learn what disasters or emergencies might occur where you live. And buy a weather radio to help stay informed.
Watch for our next post to learn how to be financially prepared for a disaster--an equally important part of being prepared for the unexpected.