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Thanks for joining me Over Coffee
A writer by passion and profession, I've been writing since I was old enough to know how, so establishing a weblog seemed a natural progression. By adding a blog to my site, I can speak about my passions and life, share my writing, art and photos, and comment on current events.

The American Red Cross

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Feeling Helpless? Prepare yourself...

I have been following the coverage of the tragedy that in Minneapolis, feeling sad and helpless. Perhaps you are too?

When you make your plans and are preparing an emergency kit for your automobile, you probably won't be thinking about facing a disaster like the one that befell dozens of commuters in Minneapolis yesterday.

More likely any emergency plans and kit you have prepared are meant to help you cope with personal, small scale disasters – such as getting stuck in a rain or snow storm or breaking down on a road that’s off the beaten path. But, while you can’t imagine being prepared for something as unusual as a major bridge collapsing under you, you can do something - you do not need to feel helpless.

When an unforeseen disaster such as this strikes (or even just vehicle crashes), it can take some time for response and rescue crews to get to the scene and reach survivors in need of help. Some of the first people to respond will be those nearby or caught in the midst of the disaster themselves. While you can’t specifically prepare for every type of disaster under the sun, you can give yourself the tools and knowledge you need to help yourself, your loved ones and/or your neighbors when tragedy strikes.

  • Build an emergency preparedness kit for your vehicle, if you haven't already, including (but not limited to):
    • First aid kit and manual
    • Battery-powered NOAA radio with extra batteries
    • Blanket and/or sleeping bags
    • Flashlight with extra batteries
    • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
    • Compass, road map and knife
    • Heavy sack of sand or cat litter (for tire traction) and tow rope
    • Bottled water and non-perishable, high-energy food,
      such as granola or energy bars
    • Extra clothing and shoes

  • Get trained in first aid, including CPR/AED and rescue breathing, take a lifeguard course or simply learn to swim. (These are lifesaving skills.)
  • Make a plan for how you and your loved ones will connect in the event of a disaster.
  • Consider making a donation to a general operations or disaster fund for the national or your local American Red Cross or other local relief and response agencies so the resources will be there ready and waiting when disaster strikes.
The American Red Cross has information and ideas for preventing, preparing for and responding to (coping with) disasters of all types. They even sell ready-made starter preparedness kits that can be customized to meet your specific needs. Additionally, you can buy ready-made starter kits at a number of retailers such as Target or online at Amazon.com.

You may feel like there is nothing you, as an individual, can do in the face of a disaster of this magnitude that, unlike a storm or hurricane, came without any warning. You aren’t a rescue worker or medical personnel – and by all means stay out of their way when they’re responding. But, the fact is you can do something to be better prepared to help yourself and others.

Something is better than nothing and doing a little more to get ready is a little more than you did before…

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