Red Cross President Marsha Evans on Thursday launched a new nationwide campaign to prepare Americans for disaster, one day after Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced his department's "Ready Campaign."
Speaking at the American Red Cross Chapter in Cincinnati, Evans and Ridge unveiled the "Together We Prepare" campaign, which outlined steps to prepare Americans for disasters.
The initiative is the first major project by the organization after its union with the new department. The plan and Cincinnati event details were made available in Washington.
"Our message is this: We cannot always predict an attack; we can always prepare," said Ridge. "There are simple things you and your family can do to prepare for the unlikely but possible terrorist incident, namely: Make a kit, make a plan, and be informed."
The same message was contained in Evans' speech. The simple steps, according to the Red Cross plan: A family should make a plan, identifying escape routes and meeting places for family members. They should volunteer their time and energy to help others and give blood.
They should prepare a kit with first aid equipment, food and water for three days, duct tape and plastic sheeting. The plan suggested that family members be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and use of automatic defibrillators, a device to restore heart functions.
Evans said being prepared for all kinds of dangers was vitally important during the heightened threat of terrorism as well as other possible disasters.
"In the new and unsettling world of non-specific terrorist threats and heightened military alerts, empowering Americans ... to take practical steps to prepare for emergencies and disasters before they happen is more important than ever," Evans said.
About 1,000 Red Cross chapters and Blood Services regions across the nation are helping people in their area be more prepared for emergencies.
Many chapters have also set up local hotlines that residents may call with questions and for preparedness information.
Nationally, the American Red Cross has activated the 1-866-GET-INFO line to provide the public with readiness and disaster safety information seven days a week from 8 a.m. until midnight EST.
Across the nation, Red Cross chapters have responded with their own individual readiness programs, the announcement said.
Citizens are turning out for "Preparing for the Unexpected" classes recently offered by their local chapters. Hundreds of chapters throughout the United States are offering classes on how to make family disaster plans, create disaster supply kits, steps to take in an evacuation, how to protect yourself in your home and basic first aid and safety skills, according to Red Cross news announcements.