PRINCETON, NJ  September is National Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross New Jersey Region encourages people to take simple steps to be better prepared for potential emergencies.

Tropical weather activity in the Atlantic serves as a reminder of the importance of preparedness. By taking simple steps like staying informed, assembling an emergency kit and making a family evacuation plan, people can be better prepared for hurricanes and other disasters.

“Even if you took action to prepare last hurricane season, it’s important that you revisit and update your communication plan and check your kit for expired items,” said Steven Sarinelli, regional disaster officer, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Being prepared in advance will save you valuable time should storms threaten our area this hurricane season.”

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Update your emergency preparedness kit. Ensure your kit has the following items:

  • At least a three day supply of water - one gallon per person, per day
  • At least a three day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Flashlight and plenty of extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Prescription and non-prescription medication items (at least a seven-day supply)
  • Copies of important documents
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra cash
  • Pet supplies

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App.  The Red Cross Emergency App sends location-based weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It includes information about what to do in case of hurricanes, flooding and other disasters, how to assemble an emergency kit for your family, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to evacuate your home. The app also includes a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The free Red Cross Emergency App has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps

Create a family evacuation plan. Identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster and how you will get information, whether through local radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. Know the difference between different weather alerts such as watches and warnings and what actions to take in each. Use local maps and identify alternate evacuation routes from home, work and/or school. Know where you are going and how you plan to get there before you leave home. Include your pets in your evacuation plan. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Develop a family communication plan and identify an out-of-area contact person that family members and friends can call if you are separated from one another.

For free preparedness tools and resources, visit redcross.org/prepare.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.orgor visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey 
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ or visit us on Twitter @NJRedCross.