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Ready for anything takes planning.

Byline: SUSAN PALMER The Register-Guard

Emergency planners are keeping an eye on the big picture, but that doesn't mean area residents should slack off when it comes to making their own preparations.

"We want people to become the best emergency managers they can be in their own homes," said Lane County Sheriff Jan Clements.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the American Red Cross took calls from people wondering how they could best protect their families, said Jenny Carrick, spokeswoman for the agency's Lane County chapter.

But that interest slowed as time passed. Another surge of interest followed the Feb. 7 windstorm, and Red Cross staff members found themselves reminding people how to prepare for power outages that can last days.

The Red Cross posts disaster preparedness suggestions at its Web site for everything from hurricanes to terrorist attacks.

Here are some of the agency's top tips:

The No. 1 disaster here is home fires, Carrick said. "We had 10 in August, 11 in July. We've had four or five in September already," she said.

Families should have a floor plan of the home with two escape routes marked for each room. Family members should know how to turn off water, gas and electricity at main switches.

Emergency phone numbers should be close to the telephone and children should know how and when to call 911. The list should include the numbers for a local friend or relative and one out-of-state contact that family members can call if separated by disaster. In some situations, it's easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area.

Family members should pre-arrange two meeting places, one near the home in case of a fire and one outside the neighborhood in case it's impossible to return home.

Families should have a disaster supplies kit that includes 72 hours worth of food and water - about a gallon of water per person per day. Foods should be nutritious, nonperishable and easy to carry and store. The food and water should be stored in plastic nonbreakable containers and replaced every six months.

People should also have on hand: a change of clothes, rain gear and sturdy shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.

A first-aid kit should include prescription medications, extra pairs of glasses and a list of family physicians.

Make sure that these things are easily available: credit cards, cash, an extra set of car keys, important family information and special items that infants, elderly or disabled family members need, as well as supplies for pets. Get a fireproof container to store the important papers.

The kits should be checked yearly to replace batteries, update clothes and make any other changes.

GETTING PREPARED

More information: The American Red Cross has pamphlets on preparing for disasters from power outages to terrorist attacks. For more details, contact the local office at 862 Bethel Drive, Eugene, 344-5244, or visit its Web site: www.disasterrelief.org/ Library/Prepare/supplies.html

Training: The American Red Cross offers CPR training and disaster training. Call 344-5244 for scheduling information.

Supplies: The agency also sells supply kits that range from $35 for single adults to $279 for businesses.
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Title Annotation:Emergency: The American Red Cross offers many helpful tips for disaster preparedness.; Disasters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Sep 8, 2002
Words:529
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