Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Trained

Disasters aren't always caused by mother nature. Sometimes they come in a much smaller, unexpected form, like, for instance, a heart attack.

Earlier this month I attended a Workplace Seminar on AED usage hosted by our Health and Safety department. During the seminar, a slide breaking down total response time was shown to the audience.

Recognize Emergency: 30 sec
Get to a telephone: 30 sec
Call 9-1-1, give info: 45 sec
9-1-1 dispatches info: 15 sec
EMS receives info, gets vehicle: 30 sec
Travel time: 1 min
EMS arrives, unloads/gets gear: 1 min
EMS evaluates person: 30 sec

Total Response time: 5 min
Total response time without travel: 4 min

Data from EMS in Flint, MI

Response time may be even worse depending on where you are located. By the time EMS arrives, it may be too late. That is why the Red Cross encourages everyone to be trained in CPR and AED usage. The Health and Safety department offers different combinations of training to fit your needs along with many other training opportunities.

For more information or to register for a class call 502-561-3605, or visit our website at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Make a Plan

So you’ve built your disaster kit and done your research on local emergency resources. You should be good to go for a disaster right? Not exactly. Laying out a plan is essential to preparing for a disaster, especially when you have more than yourself to worry about.

When disaster hits, you may have little or no time to react. In advance, sit down with all members of your household to decide on the following:

Meeting Places—1. Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency. 2. Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Make sure everyone knows the address and how to get there (Google Maps!) and has a phone number for the home/facility.

Escape Plan—Draw out a floor plan of your residence marking the locations of doors, windows, stairways, furniture and emergency supplies. Identify two escape routes from each room. Windows do count, so if you or a member of your household does not live on the ground floor, consider purchasing a collapsible escape ladder.

Attention to Details—Don’t forget to plan for people with mobility problems. Make more than one exit wheelchair-accessible just in case the primary exit is blocked.

Drills—Practice may not make you perfect, but it will make you more able to deal with an actual emergency. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills each year. This will help you identify problem areas that could become an issue during real emergencies.

Find more on how to create your disaster plan at

Monday, September 20, 2010

National Dog Week

It seems nowadays there is a day dedicated to all the important people in your life. We have mothers day, fathers day and grandparents day, so shouldn't there be a day dedicated to man's best friend? What about seven days?

This week is National Dog Week, set aside just for your fetch-loving, tail-chasing, playful pooch. While your furry friend might seem fierce enough to handle his/herself, there might be a day when he/she needs more from you than just a bowl of kibble. The American Red Cross offers a pet first aid course that can give you all the skills you need to be there for your friend in his/her time of need. Here are a few upcoming dates for Pet First Aid at the Louisville Area Chapter.

  • October 12 (Tues) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • November 6 (Sat) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • December 29 (Wed) 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

During the course you will learn CPR and rescue breathing during an emergency, symptoms and care for common ailments and emergencies, how to create a pet first aid kit, and tips on how to maintain your pets health and well-being.

Course fee is $30. Call 561-3605 to register. Also check out tips on how to prepare for your pets in case of a disaster.

Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Build a Kit

What would you do if your house burned down? Was hit by a tornado? Suffered major damage from a hurricane (a la Hurricane Ike windstorm)? What would you do if you lost everything?

The last major disaster to hit the Louisville area was the August flood in 2009. That was over a year ago, but the Red Cross responds to more than “major” disasters.

Since September 1, the Louisville Area Chapter has responded to 14 home fires, 6 of which occurred at an apartment complex or boarding house where multiple families lived. Many of the residents affected lost all of their belongings; this includes clothing, food, photos and other precious items.

What if you only had a few moments to grab everything you needed? Wouldn’t it be easier if you already had your basic necessities packed and ready to go? This is exactly what the Red Cross recommends. Every family—scratch that—every individual, should have a disaster kit packed and ready in case of an emergency.

While the pack should mainly consist of basic survival items like clothing, non-perishable food and water, packing your kit ahead of time allows you to think of the not-so-obvious items like copies of important documents, medications, gloves or, my personal favorite, a can opener. A girl’s gotta eat, and so do you.

Don't forget to put together a kit to keep at work or in your car.

For a full list of items you should include in your disaster kit, go to

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Be Informed: Know your emergency numbers!

Normally the first step in our guide to preparedness is "Build a Kit," but I decided to change things up a bit after reading an interesting CNN article by Amy Gahran. Everyone knows (or should know) to call 911 in case of an emergency. Now that the majority of Americans carry a cell phone on their person at all times, it's hard to imagine not being able to get help. But have you ever wondered how your call gets to the nearest dispatcher?

Take my cell phone for example. Be it stubbornness or laziness, my area code remains Colorado based. To make things even more complicated, I live in Southern Indiana, but work in Louisville. So if for some reason I needed to call 911, who would be fielding my call? Would they even be in the same state?

Most 911 calls are directed to a number determined by the tower you are nearest when you make the call. To ensure you have all bases covered, Gahran's article recommends that when calling 911, you begin by giving the operator your location (street names, landmarks, or mile markers). Always be aware of your surroundings. Also give the 911 operator your number just in case the call drops.

She also recommends you have alternative emergency numbers (non-911) in your cell phone for all cities in which you spend a lot of time. Remember this suggestion is for emergency calls from a cell phone, not a land line. Each police department is different, so do your research. When in doubt, dial 911.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

National Preparedness Month

With hurricanes and tropical storms looming off the East Coast, it’s time to get serious about disaster preparedness. And what better time to do so than Preparedness Month! That’s right people; it’s time to break out those old back-packs and fill them with your basic emergency needs; it’s time to sit down with your family/roommate to discuss your emergency evacuation plan; it’s time to do a little research on your local emergency resources.

This month the blog will focus on preparedness, highlighting three basic steps: build a kit, make a plan and be informed.

For daily preparedness tips throughout the month of September, become a fan of our Facebook page at

And just in case you’re still unconvinced of the importance of preparedness, here’s a message from the White House, signed by one President Barack Obama. ;)