Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 13-17, 2015

91809SevereStormSlideshow1The recent tornadoes in Illinois are a sober reminder that disasters happen anytime and anywhere. In the Upper Midwest, we experience heavy storms, flooding, and tornadoes. During Severe Weather Awareness Week, April 13-17, take a moment, or two, and review your preparedness plan; check-in with loved ones, neighbors, and friends about their readiness for emergencies; and update your disaster kit so that you’ll have what you need when you need it most.

To get more Red Cross safety information for specific emergencies, click here.  We encourage everyone with mobile device to download the Red Cross Tornado App. This free app features a siren warning, a shelter locator, and instructions on what to do during and after a tornado. Information is available even if there is no mobile connectivity. You can also learn more about tornado safety by viewing this myths and facts slide show.

To help people affected affected by disasters big and small, click here. Your gift enables the American Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters. You can donate by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

Playing Monster Guard teaches Aryn about disasters

In two days, Aryn Gill, 7, graduated from rookie to member playing the American Red Cross Monster Guard mobile app that prepares kids for real-life emergencies. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross
Aryn Gill, 8, graduated from rookie to member in two days playing the American Red Cross Monster Guard mobile app that prepares kids for emergencies. Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

Kids can learn just about anything these days. With help from the American Red Cross Monster Guard mobile app, they can learn about how to prepare for and respond to a variety of real-life emergencies, including tornadoes, floods, and other weather disasters. Take Aryn Gill who’s 8 years old.  “I finished it in two days. BOOM!,” she says after demonstrating how to play the game. She learned “how to cope when I’m in a disaster, when I’m scared. I need to feel calm, take a deep breath and blow it out.” She also learned about getting supplies and going to a safe place during a hurricane; screwing shelves to walls before earthquakes happen; and covering her mouth with a damp cloth if she doesn’t have a mask during a volcano. Home fire safety was a big learning moment, too: “I didn’t know I needed to make a primary escape plan.” And checking smoke alarms is really important she says, especially checking batteries: “once every month make sure your smoke alarms work.” Aryn’s not a disaster rookie after finishing all Monster Guard levels and becoming a member. “I tell other kids they should play so they can learn about disasters, too.”

Story and photo by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

In my what kit?

Yeah, it’s a winter Monday morning. (Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross)

A typical winter morning conversation at the Northern Minnesota Red Cross region HQ after a day-long snow fall and more winter weather expected:

Hey, what’s in your winter car preparedness kit? In my “what” kit? Your car emergency kit, you know, the kit with extra stuff you keep in your car during winter for emergencies? Oh, right, yeah. Boots, gloves, blanket, jumper cables. I mostly think about it in terms of keeping warm. Yeah, me too, but I think my kit needs work.

Does anyone want to brush off the snow? (Photo credit: Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross)

Sure, you can call us geeks (we don’t mind), but we’d rather be prepared, especially on a day like today and the days to follow, than frozen and worried. So, if you’re planning to be out and about via automobile, in addition to having supplies (e.g., scarves, gloves, & blankets) to keep warm, check your car:

  • gas tank: full (half = empty)
  • tires: inflated
  • windshield washer reservoir: full
  • driving: go slow
  • poor visibility: stay home

Of course, we offer the suggestions above knowing that you’ll keep in mind your location–the Twin Cities Banana Belt (term provided courtesy of Thief River Falls native) versus the Minnesota Frozen Tundra (term provided courtesy of Southern California native). Plus, our Red Cross water cooler conversationalists agree that urban versus rural travel shapes your kit.

For more ideas click here,

XO from the Red Cross Water Cooler!

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