Updated 09/04/2012 07:10 PM
Be equipped for national preparedness month
After the September 11th attacks, the American Red Cross established September as National Preparedness Month so families and businesses can have a plan in case of an emergency. YNN's Katie Husband tells us what you need in case disaster strikes and how emergency officials respond accordingly.
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CORNING, N.Y. -- For more than a decade, the American Red Cross has used September as a time to remind people to have a plan in case of emergency. It was after 9/11 that they officially designated this National Preparedness Month.
"Encouraging individuals to put together a plan. So know your evacuation routes. Also, if you're not at home, know where you can muster your family in the event that you cannot get home and every family member is coming from a different location," said Brian Mcconnell, executive director of the Greater Steuben Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Mcconnell says it's also vital to have a communication plan in case phone lines are down, which neighboring Chemung County residents experienced when the tornado ripped through in July.
"We saw that with the tornadoes in Elmira, that communication is often hampered or it gets priority for emergency relief but not individuals," said Mcconnell.
After the plans are set, start putting together an emergency kit for each individual in the house.
"And, what should be in there is really up to the individual. You might want to have a change of clothes, but you should have enough water, one gallon per person per day, and some non-perishable food," said Mcconnell.
While the kit is meant to assist the families in time of an emergency, responders are required to be the first ones on scene no matter where they may be needed.
"The call came out from Albany to the locals to say who has what availability of resources then we send those resources from our county to the neighboring jurisdictions," said Tim Marshall, acting director for Emergency Services in Steuben County.
"A house explosion is a bit different than a multi-county flood. What we do is we escalate the response, might have larger shelters, multiple shelters as opposed to maybe hotel/motel stays or an evacuation shelter," said Mcconnell.
From one county to the next and for any emergency, you should be prepared as the respondents have been in these recent disasters.