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Bill Gray on Preparing for Disasters

November 16, 2012

Bill Gray, the retired Co-Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy Group North America, served as the Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater New York from 2002 to 2008. The former executive continues to act as Chairman Emeritus and to promote Red Cross programs.

September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross wants everyone to prepare for unexpected disasters. In a disaster situation, good preparation can reduce panic, hasten evacuations, and save lives. The organization wants every American household to build an emergency kit, prepare a disaster plan, and stay on top of news events for their area.

A good disaster kit should have food and water supplies for several days, a light source, a battery-operated radio with new batteries, any necessary medications, and first aid supplies. It should also be easy to load into a car or carry onto a bus in an emergency evacuation situation. The Red Cross recommends that the kit contain 3 gallons of water for each member of the household and a week’s worth of necessary medications.

In addition to packing a disaster kit, families should create an evacuation plan and designate meeting sites in case of separation. They should divide up emergency tasks and practice them. In an evacuation situation, there is not much time to think. A well-practiced emergency plan can help guide scared families through the process.

Finally, the Red Cross wants people to stay informed. Pay attention to weather alerts and other emergency announcements. If your local authorities order an evacuation, do not hesitate. Get your family and get out as quickly as you can. Unfortunately, we cannot always predict disasters, but we can certainly prepare for them in advance.

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