Is your family "Red Cross Ready?" - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Is your family "Red Cross Ready?"

You never know when a hurricane, earthquake, fire or other disaster could up-end your life. That's why being prepared is critical for both survival and recovery -- and that goes double for children!

No matter when or where disaster strikes, the American Red Cross is there to help victims. But part of the organization's mission is to prepare families to help themselves in the hours and days following a catastrophe. Leeza Gibbons invited a few neighborhood kids over to show them how to be "Red Cross Ready."

The whole idea behind Leeza's Red Cross Ready event is to empower young people to help them learn what they need to know to protect themselves, to play a part in protecting their families and maybe even save their family pets in the event of a natural disaster. Through interactive games, the kids had fun learning what kind of supplies to pack for an emergency evacuation.

We found out that a disaster kit should include at least:

  • One gallon of water per family member per day for 3 days
  • A 3-day supply of non-perishable food
  • A flashlight
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries and a first aid

This may surprise you, but the Red Cross responds to a house fire every nine minutes. It is, in fact, the type of disaster they handle most often.

"One of the most basic pieces of safety equipment is the fire extinguisher," says Leeza. "We know we've got to have them in places all around the house, but how many kids, how many adults, really know how to use one?"

With some coaching from the Los Angeles Fire Department, the kids practiced using a fire extinguisher. The four steps are easily remembered by the acronym PASS: Pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. You pull the pin, aim the spray nozzle, squeeze the handle and sweep back and forth.

The final training exercise of the day focused on saving the family pet, which was led by Veterinarian Karen Halligan, who volunteered after Hurricane Katrina.

"It was such a shame," says Halligan. "People died because they didn't want to leave their pets. And so my goal is to try to educate people to help them be prepared for their pets."

One thing is knowing basic CPR. Dr. Halligan says performing CPR on a dog or cat is different than resuscitating a human. It's called "mouth to snout resuscitation," and rather than breathing air into an animal's mouth, you blow into its nose.

"If you're successful, the pet's all of a sudden going to have a pulse, start to breathe a little bit and you will know you have to back off because the pet will start to come to," adds Halligan.

Download the Red Cross' disaster checklist here.

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