Red Cross keeps Airmen, families ready

  • Published
  • By Akinori Tsuchida
  • American Red Cross
Disasters can strike at any time. While some disasters such as typhoons or hurricanes give people time to prepare, pack, and evacuate, others like a house fire can happen quickly with no warning.

Fleeing your residence in the middle of the night is a devastating and scary experience. Imagine having only one or two minutes to grab and go. In those few moments, what would you take with you?

September is National Preparedness Month. In recognition of this event, we encourage everyone to assess their family's current level of readiness and make preparations. One of the first things you should do is make a plan. It is better to do this now when things are calm and you are not stressed out.

Your plan should include designating rally points in case your family is separated, assigning a person responsible for initiating the alert roster and making a 'Go Bag'.

Items in your Go Bag should include important documents and essential supplies. For example, have a copy of your prescription so you can get it refilled quickly, an extra pair of eyeglasses and make copies of your lease and insurance company information.

Throw in a spare charger for your phone and make a list of important phone numbers and addresses to keep in the Go Bag as well.

Other items for your Go Bag should include food and water for 72 hours, a radio, flashlight, batteries and a first aid kit. If you have a pet, don't forget to plan for its needs too. Depending on the climate, you might consider a change of clothes, extra thermals or other hot/cold weather gear.

The stress of recovering from a disaster can be mitigated by doing some simple planning and preparation.

Even though you've taken steps to prepare for a disaster, what happens after? How do you get in touch with loved ones?

Disasters often make it difficult to stay in touch. Post-disaster, the affected area may not have cellular or landline phone service, or the network could be overloaded by everyone calling and you cannot get through.

Internet service is disrupted, there is no power or electricity to charge devices, or family members are separated because roads are impassable or washed out, and people become displaced due to evacuations.

The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a central location for people in disaster areas to register their status. Their loved ones can then access that information from anywhere in the world via the Red Cross website.

This program provides families with relief and comfort during an extremely stressful time. We also encourage our clients staying in shelters to register themselves in Safe and Well. During Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, the American Red Cross is there to provide assistance to the evacuees to include using Safe and Well Linking to keep your families back home informed.

Safe and Well Linking is easy to use. If you are affected, simply to go the Red Cross website, enter your pre-disaster address and phone number and select any of the message options.

If you are checking the status of a loved one, simply click on "Search Registrants," enter the person's name and pre-disaster address or phone and you will be able to view the message they have posted. Safe and Well is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is accessible in both English and Spanish.

For more information on building a kit, please visit or For more information on Safe and Well Linking, please visit