A new season is upon us and it is a good time to remind ourselves that we need to be ‘Red Cross Ready’ in case of an emergency. This is a good time to not only check the existing measures we have in place but to ensure that the old ones are still in good working order. The American Red Cross recommends that all householders do the following:

· Test all smoke alarms, both at home and work . Don’t forget to test carbon monoxide alarms as well. Replace the batteries if necessary.

· Make sure that the emergency contact information in your family’s communication plan is updated . Choose an out-of-area emergency contact that each family member can contact if he/she becomes separated in a disaster situation.

· You need to make sure you have an Emergency Preparedness Kit . If you do have a kit, make sure that it contains the following contents: at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person per day), a flashlight, a battery powered or hand-crank radio, a multi-purpose tool, a first aid kit, copies of important documents, and special items such as medications, diapers, and infant formula.

· Even if you have only checked your emergency kit within the last few months, it is still worthwhile re-checking it and replacing old staples, such as food and water, with new ones. Members of your family may also have changed their medications, or have had a change in dietary requirements since you last prepared your emergency kit.

The warmer weather means that some other changes may need to be made to your Emergency Preparedness Kit. You will need to swap blankets for lighter sheets, and warm clothing (jumpers, jeans) for cooler clothing (shorts, shirts). Sunscreen, sunglasses, and insect repellent will also be useful. You could even include a small battery-powered fan .

By ensuring that you are adequately prepared, your family will have a far greater chance of surviving in an emergency situation.

The American Red Cross sells Emergency Preparedness Kits and other similar items online. Simply follow the links to the Red Cross Store.

None of us need to be reminded of the integral part volunteers from charities such as The American Red Cross play in times of emergency. As a Non Government Organization, The American Red Cross relies heavily on donations from members of the public. As part of your Spring cleaning, you may have decided to buy a new car, or finally decided to get rid of the old one that was sitting in the garage all winter taking up space now that the weather is warming up you can put your car and your neighbors out of their misery and donate your car . The American Red Cross gratefully accepts all types of vehicles as donations, even vehicles that are not running.