Dr. Boozman's Check-up

This past winter brought a great deal of snow, sleet and ice to Arkansas and along with it, all the dangers that come along with these types of severe weather. Now that spring is upon us, we have a different form of extreme weather to deal with—tornadoes.

Tornadoes are among the most violent weather conditions we face. While weather patterns that may produce tornadoes are unpredictable, there are still steps we can take to protect our families and help our communities before the sirens sound.

The Red Cross provides a good resource. As one of the nation’s best known humanitarian organizations, the Red Cross has been helping families and communities recover from disasters for over 130 years. The organization has an excellent online education program dubbed “Red Cross Ready.”

There are three keys to being “Red Cross Ready”—get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

  • Get a Kit: At a minimum, have basic supplies together and at hand to evacuate and survive. These include water, non-perishable food, first aid kit, flashlights, battery-charged radio, extra batteries, cell phone charger and cash, among other items. Ensure everyone in your household knows where to find this kit in the event of an emergency.

  • Make a Plan: In the event you need to evacuate immediately, the Red Cross encourages you to identify two ways to escape from every room in the home, practice your escape plan at least twice a year and select a safe location away from the home where your family can meet after escaping.

  • Be Informed: Know what actions to take to protect yourself and your family from the various disasters that could strike your community. Identify how local authorities will notify you and know the differences between various weather alerts.

Along with helping you and your family prepare, the Red Cross has opportunities to help your community in advance of a disaster as well.

The organization’s #BeAHero campaign recognizes “Everyday Heroes” who in some way help their individual community by giving of themselves and encourages others to #BeAHero too.

Here’s how the Red Cross says you can #BeAHero too:

  • Give Blood: One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Learn about the donation process, eligibility requirements and where to give blood.
  • Take a Red Cross Class on First Aid and CPR: Each year, an average of more than 9 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies through American Red Cross training classes. This includes First Aid and CPR training. You can join their ranks by getting certified through Red Cross.

  • Download Free Red Cross Preparedness Apps: When disaster strikes, there is an app to help you locate Red Cross shelters. There are emergency-specific apps including one to get your family and home ready in the event of a flood and another to teach everything you need to know prepare for a tornado. There’s even an app to help protect your family pet.

Since 1943, the President of the United States has proclaimed March as “Red Cross Month.” It is still as necessary today. Being prepared and helping our neighbors in a time of crisis are everlasting needs. I encourage you to take the time now to be prepared should disaster strike your community.

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