2007-09-07 / Editorials

Red Cross wants families to prepare

Guest opinion

September is National Preparedness Month, yet only 7 percent of Americans have taken the steps necessary to prepare for an emergency, according to the American Red Cross. Why? Many people just don't have the time. A Red Cross survey indicates that 82 percent of Americans say they would prepare if it were easier.

Among Americans who had not put together a disaster kit, 65 percent agreed they would be more likely to have a kit if one were available and contained the basic items to get started.

This month the Red Cross urges every family to "Be Red Cross Ready" and to get a kit, make a plan and be informed. One way the Red Cross has made it easier for families to get prepared is by offering a variety of first aid, health, safety and emergency preparedness materials.

"We've tried to make it as simple as possible for everyone to get prepared," said Laura Howe, spokesperson for the Red Cross. "In purchasing these items, the public can feel good about not only preparing their families but also supporting the humanitarian mission of the Red Cross."

Red Cross items available to the public include first aid kits, disposable and heavy-duty work gloves, hand sanitizer, emergency preparedness kits, handcrank radios, auto safety kits and a variety of essential education guides.

The Red Cross also has a line of infant health and wellness products that help parents prepare for trouble, encouraging them to take Red Cross courses in infant first aid and CPR. These are available online, at the local Camarillo and Ventura Red Cross offices and at a variety of retail locations nationwide. Proceeds from the sale of these items go directly back into supporting the mission of the organization.

The public is also invited to take a free online education module at www.redcross.org/ BeRedCrossReady, which walks visitors through preparedness actions.

Since 1917, the American Red Cross of Ventura County has been meeting needs throughout the county. Each year, more than 1,000 local volunteers respond to more than 50 local disasters, teach thousands of individuals lifesaving skills and support the men and women in the armed forces. The Red Cross is not a government agency.

For more information, visit www.arcventura.org.

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