Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nationwide Emergency Alert System Test November 9 at 1 p.m. CST

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission will run a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) Wednesday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m. CST to assess how well the EAS alerts the public about emergencies.

This first ever country-wide test will appear on all broadcast radio and television stations, cable television systems, satellite radio and television systems, and wireline video service systems.

The American Red Cross urges the public to use the test as a reminder to get personally prepared for disasters.

“The combined resources of the government, community organizations and the Red Cross will never be big enough to do it all in every disaster,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Every person, business, organization, school and house of worship must be prepared to take care of themselves and their neighbors in an emergency.”

The three keys to preparedness are to build a kit, make a plan, and be informed.

An emergency preparedness kit should include enough supplies for everyone in the household for at least three days. The kit should include water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home. Preparedness kits, radios and other items needed in an emergency are available online at the Red Cross Store.

All members of the household should work together on an emergency plan. Each person should know how to reach other members of the household. The plan should also include an out-of-area emergency contact person, and where everyone should meet if they can't go home.

People should be informed about what types of disasters are most likely to occur where they live. It is also important to take a first aid and CPR/AED course—a vital component of disaster preparedness in case emergency help is delayed.

Throughout the year, the Red Cross conducts programs to help people be prepared. “Be Red Cross Ready” is a web-based interactive training program that teaches people how to be ready for emergencies. The Red Cross “Do More Than Cross Your Fingers” campaign, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, shows people how to customize their emergency kits. The “Ready When the Time Comes” program trains employees from corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes. Businesses, organizations and schools can join the Ready Rating™ program and complete a free, online assessment of their current readiness level and receive customized feedback with tips to improve preparedness.

The Red Cross works all year to be prepared to respond when disaster strikes and urges people to get ready too. Being prepared can save lives when disaster strikes. Visit http://www.redcross.org/ to learn more about how to be ready for an emergency.

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