By Beth Kilchenman
American Red Cross
As I write this column, many Medina County residents are still without electricity due to the high winds associated with Hurricane Ike that blew through Northeast Ohio on Sept. 14. As you searched the house for a radio or a flashlight with operating batteries or wished you had stored some large containers of bottled water, did you remember that you had intended to assemble that all-important disaster supply kit the last time the electricity went out?
Why donâ€™t you take the time to do it now, so youâ€™ll be prepared for the next storm?
Gather enough emergency supplies to meet your needs. A portable kit, stored in a sturdy, easy-to-carry, water-resistant container should have enough supplies for three days.
The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home and to keep a smaller kit in the trunk of your car. Check your kit and replace the stock every six months.
Whether you purchase a kit or choose to build your own, your kit should include:
o A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and ready-to-eat nonperishable foods, like tuna, peanut butter, crackers, canned fruit, etc.
o A manual can opener.
o A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
o A first-aid kit and reference guide.
o Prescription and nonprescription medication items.
o Cash. ATMs and credit cards wonâ€™t work if the power is out.
o Emergency tools, including tools to turn off utilities.
o Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
Donâ€™t wait until the next storm happens. Meet with your family to create a plan. Discuss the information you have gathered and why it is important to prepare for a disaster.
Hurricanes drain Disaster Relief Fund
As the sixth consecutive storm of the 2008 hurricane season hit the United States, the American Red Cross started picking up the pieces on the Gulf Coast.
When Hurricane Ike made landfall in Texas on Sept. 13, the Red Cross was still mounting a massive relief effort in Louisiana and surrounding states to feed, shelter and counsel the thousands impacted by Hurricane Gustav.
After responding to more than 60 large-scale disasters in 2008, including a record-breaking tornado season, widespread flooding across the central U.S. and extensive wildfires, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund is without money. We are calling on you to support the DRF, which allows the Red Cross to provide help whenever and wherever disasters occur.
We have launched a nationwide fundraising campaign to raise an initial $100 million to help victims of recent disasters meet their immediate needs for food, shelter, counseling and other critical services.
Costly preparation and recovery efforts for the 2008 storms, coupled with public misperceptions about the size and scope of Hurricane Gustavâ€™s recovery efforts have put the American Red Cross in a challenging position. Because the cost of providing relief assistance has rapidly outpaced incoming contributions, the Red Cross is borrowing money to cover the cost of the hurricanes of 2008. Despite this, the Red Cross has not cut any services to disaster victims and does not expect to do so.
You can help the victims of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, do so at the time of your donation. Call 800-REDCROSS. Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to the Medina County Chapter at 704 N. Court St., Medina, 44256, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washing-ton, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.
Kilchenman may be reached at 330-723-4565.