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      Red Cross recognizing National Preparedness Month

      The Jefferson/Shelby Chapter of the American Red Cross is encouraging all households to have a family disaster plan to be sure they are ready for the next emergency or disaster.{}Plans should include designating a meeting place right outside the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, an out-of-area emergency contact person and a location where everyone should meet if they can't go home. Each family member should also know how to reach other family members at any time.

      "Disasters can strike at any time and being prepared is a family's best defense," said Chris Osborne, Communications Officer for the Alabama Red Cross. "Making a plan is an important step in making sure all household members know what to do in an emergency.""Everyone must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency," Osborne said. "No one can predict where or when disasters will strike, but preparedness steps taken today can save lives tomorrow."{}Other Ways to Get ReadyThe Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools, and communities be better prepared.

      Be Red Cross Ready is a free online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies.

      Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations, and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level.

      The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes.

      Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed.

      People can visit for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.