Developing a disaster preparedness plan can help Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors stay safe by responding appropriately when disasters strike and recover more quickly following a disaster.

People in the United States and its territories, in general, are not well-prepared for disasters. According to national survey data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a 2014 FEMA study found that only 45% of the national population reported having a household emergency plan. More work needs to be done to ensure that all people in the United States and its territories, including Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors, have access to effective preparedness education at no cost.

“Helping Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors prepare for emergencies is a cornerstone of our mission,” said Thomas C. Heneghan, Community and Youth Preparedness Education program manager for the American Red Cross.

American Red Cross Launching “Be Red Cross Ready” program

That is why the American Red Cross is launching the Be Red Cross Ready Program to be shared virtually with Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors through the Military and Veteran Caregiver Network. The program curriculum is designed to help people understand, prepare for and respond appropriately to disasters. It highlights diversity and is culturally appropriate to reach diverse populations.

Be Red Cross Ready utilizes a whole community approach to preparedness education. Preparedness and safety information for older adults and individuals with disabilities, access, or functional needs is woven into the curriculum. The program aims to reduce perceived barriers to taking preparedness actions by focusing on a step-by-step approach that is manageable, action-oriented and affordable.

Preventing and preparing for home fires

This first presentation includes an introductory module on emergency preparedness with special focus on preventing and preparing for home fires. Throughout 2021, Red Cross will present other modules on relevant local hazards. In all, 14 local hazard modules have been created including, Hurricane, Wildfire, Tornado and COVID-19. These modules include a discussion of risks inherent to each disaster, how to prepare, respond appropriately, and basic steps to help stay safe after a disaster.

“Veterans, families, caregivers and survivors deserve the opportunity to learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones from a home fire. I am so grateful we are able to provide free, online Be Red Cross Ready learning opportunities for our members,” said Melissa Comeau, director of Military and Veteran Caregiver Network.

Register for the free Home Fire Prevention and Preparedness for Veterans, Families, Caregivers and Survivors presentation Monday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m. EST REGISTER

Sound the Alarm

Most of us don’t realize we have just two minutes to escape a home fire. That’s why Red Cross is preparing families to act quickly through our Home Fire Campaign. Interested in learning more about how prepare your home and family against a home fire? Sign up for a virtual home fire safety presentation from your local Red Cross at (scroll down the page and enter your zip code to find your local Red Cross). If needed, you can also receive free smoke alarms via an in-home installation for your household. Availability depends on your location.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA

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Published on May. 4, 2021

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