By Teresa Zundel
and Christian Gray
Imagine this: A catastrophic earthquake rocks the Wasatch Front, devastating thousands of homes including yours and causing injuries. Your kids are at school and your spouse is at work. The power is out and cellphones don't work, so you're unable to get in touch with them.
Do you have a designated family meeting place? Does your family have a plan in place for a disaster like this? If you're like most Americans, you probably don't. According to American Red Cross research, only about one in 10 Americans has taken the steps necessary to prepare for an emergency.
That's why, in observance of National Preparedness Month in September, the American Red Cross Utah Region and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah are teaming up to encourage Utahns to evaluate their levels of emergency preparedness and to take action to become better prepared.
Personal preparedness is as easy as one, two, three.
First, assemble emergency kits for each of your family members. Along with food, water (at least one gallon per person per day) and first-aid supplies, include items such as vital prescription medications, important papers, pet supplies, contact lists and cash.
Next, make a plan.
Talk with your family about potential disasters and create a strategy for staying safe and remaining connected. Identify at least two locations where family members might meet after a disaster (one within your neighborhood and one outside of it). Designate at least two out-of-state contacts so that family members can report their status and learn about the welfare of other loved ones. And register yourself on the Red Cross Safe and Well website following a disaster so you can list yourself as "safe and well" or search for information about others.
Finally, be informed about the types of disasters that might occur in your area and make specific plans for them. Also, make sure at least one person in your family has CPR and first-aid training, and download the official American Red Cross First Aid app (available on iPhone and Android).
For detailed information visit redcross.org, or follow the hashtag, #2prepareUtah, on Twitter.
Teresa Zundel works for American Red Cross Utah Region. Christian Gray is a disaster services manager for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.