2007-04-13 / Community

Peninsula Hospital Center News

Peninsula Hospital Center Auxilians Get Prepared

Lucy Lopez, Community Coordinator for the American Red Cross of New York delivered an interesting and informative presentation on the city's READY New York disaster and emergency preparedness program. Here she explains what everyone should keep in their "Go Bag". Lucy Lopez, Community Coordinator for the American Red Cross of New York delivered an interesting and informative presentation on the city's READY New York disaster and emergency preparedness program. Here she explains what everyone should keep in their "Go Bag". Members of the Peninsula Hospital Center Auxiliary hosted their monthly meeting this past Tuesday and welcomed Lucy Lopez of the American Red Cross as their guest speaker. Lopez delivered an in-depth lecture from the city's READY New York disaster and emergency preparedness program.

Her presentation covered just about any form of emergency situation that might happen in this city, ranging from severe weather situations such as coastal storms, tornadoes and flash flooding to disease outbreaks, plane crashes and acts of terrorism.

The information supplied by Lopez taught those present what to have in their heads, hands and homes in the event of a real emergency.

Items to "have in your head" include: deciding on a meeting place, a place for the members of your household to reunite after a disaster occurs; making sure everyone knows the address and phone number of a second meeting place; being aware of and practicing all possible exit routes from your home and out of your neighborhood; designating an out-of-state friend or relative as a phone contact for everyone in case circuits are busy within the city; accounting for everybody's needs, especially seniors and those with disabilities; practicing your plan with the whole family; and getting to know the emergency plans in place for your workplace, school, child's school or daycare.

Items to "have in your home" include: one gallon of drinking water per person per day; non-perishable foods and a manual can opener; a first-aid kit, medications and prescriptions; a flashlight, battery operated radio and extra batteries; a whistle; personal hygiene items; sturdy shoes, and warm clothes. According to Lopez, a Go Bag is suggested to carry all of the items suggested to keep "in your hand," including copies of all your important documents in a waterproof container; an extra set of car and house keys; credit/ATM cards an cash, especially in small denominations; bottled water and non-perishable food; a flashlight, battery-operated radio, extra batteries; medication for at least one week; a first aid kit, comfortable shoes, lightweight raingear and a mylar blanket and child care supplies.

Keep in mind that you don't know exactly where you will be when a disaster strikes.

You could be anywhere from home to school to your office, or even be on the road driving your car.

Emergencies and disasters strike quickly and without warning in many cases and you may have to evacuate or confine yourself to your home. Once at home, some or all of your basic services could be cut off including water, gas, electricity and telephone.

Lopez stressed the need to listen to authorities when a disaster situation occurs. If you are told to stay in your homes, stay.

On the other hand, if you are told to evacuate, use the plan that you have set in place to evacuate your home and neighborhood.

Most importantly, you need to remain calm so that you can see yourself and your family through the emergency situation at hand.

Remember that relief personnel will be on the scene soon after the disaster, but you need to stick to the plan you have put into place because emergency workers cannot reach everyone right away. Planning and following that plan is your responsibility and really the best protection that you can offer your family.

Never call 911 to contact city agencies during an emergency unless you are in immediate danger, witness a crime or have a serious injury or medical condition.

The same goes for calling 311 - reach out when you need access to non-emergency services or city government programs, but don't call 311 for emergencies.

READY New York is a the program of the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the American Red Cross, New York Chapter, that describes many of the emergencies that we as New Yorkers may someday be faced with and it provides important information on how to respond and prepare for these emergencies.

For additional information on the READY New York program, contact the Office of Emergency Management at NYC.gov/oem or call 311, or the American Red Cross/NY at 877-733- 2767 or www.nyredcross.org.

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