The American Red Cross in Maine encourages everyone to be prepared for winter storms. Dave Sheehan, Regional Disaster Program Officer for the Red Cross in Maine, says, “Households need to plan as to what they would do if an emergency situation occurred. All it takes is three easy steps.” 

Get a disaster kit ready: A kit can be assembled using a downloadable checklist available on MaineRedCross.org. A kit should include a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person per day for drinking and hygiene purposes); a battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA weather radio if possible); flashlight and extra batteries; first aid kit, medications and medical items; copies of all important documents (proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies); and extra cash.

Develop an emergency plan: Talk with household members about what you would do during emergencies. Plan what to do in case you are separated, and choose two places to meet, one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and another outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.

Choose a contact person from outside of the area and make sure all household members have his/her phone number and e-mail address.

Tell everyone in the household where emergency information and supplies are kept.

Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route, and plot alternate routes on a map to be ready in case main roads become impassable.

Don’t forget your pets. If you must evacuate, make arrangements for your animals. Keep a phone list of “pet-friendly” motels/hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.

Be informed about what possible risks you may face where you live, work, learn and play: Download the Winter Storm Safety Checklist at MaineRedCross.org. Find out how you would receive information from local officials in the event of an emergency.

To be ready to respond to a emergency before help arrives, consider learning first aid and CPR/AED. For class offerings and to register, visit redcross.org/takeaclass.

A Red Cross Emergency App, a single “go-to” source for 14 different types of emergencies and disasters, can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.