Preparedness Rally planned for today

September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross, Alabama Region, encourages all households to get ready for the next emergency or disaster. {}There will be a Regions Bank Preparedness Rally today, September 3, 2013, where you can develop a Family Disaster Plan, get tips on being prepared and learn more about preparedness in the community. That event takes place at Regions Bank at 1900 5th Avenue North in downtown Birmingham from 11:30am to 1:00pm. {}

"Having a game plan in place is essential for all households so everyone knows what they should do when an emergency occurs," said Chris Osborne, Communications Officer for the Alabama Red Cross. "National Preparedness Month is a perfect time for Alabama residents to create or update their plan."

The Family Disaster Plan is an important step in preparedness so that everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes. {}According to the Red Cross, "the plan should include ways to contact one another and two predetermined places to meet - one near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home. People should also identify an emergency contact person from outside the area in case local telephone lines are overloaded or out of service."

The Red Cross also offers an app to help families prepare."People can use the 'Make a Plan' feature in the apps to create their plan and then share it with their loved ones," Osborne said. "The preloaded content in the apps gives people access to vital information to use during emergencies, even if they can't connect to the internet." The apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.{}Of course, the Red Cross wants to remind people that you can give blood to help keep the community prepared in times of disaster. {}You can go to or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).