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During September, the American Red Cross and other organizations are coming together to urge the public to prepare for emergencies. To kick off preparedness month, the local Red Cross and the Greene County Office of Emergency Management came together for a blood drive Tuesday. The groups also handed out information to make residents aware of how to be prepared for emergencies. KSMU’s Matt Evans has more.
Many people are not prepared for natural and manmade disasters. That’s why there are local efforts underway this month to raise awareness. Chris Harmon is the director of emergency services at the Red Cross of the Ozarks.
“People need to realize that disasters can happen and they do happen and they will affect all of us at some time. As we know for the ’07 ice storm here in southwest Missouri, there’s times where we need to be prepared.”
This week, people were able to give blood and browse through booths containing emergency preparedness information. Harmon said an important part of being prepared is to have an emergency kit that contains things like water, clothing items, tools, flashlights, and canned goods. He also said pre-made kits are available for purchase ranging anywhere from $10 to $200.
Brad Eldridge is the donor recruitment coordinator at the Red Cross.
“Less than 10% of the public is prepared for a disaster. Less than 3% of the public actually donate blood.”
Eldridge says these are scary statistics and he adds that the Red Cross hopes to improve on those numbers this month.
The Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT was also at the drive. CERT is an organization that trains volunteers to aid the community in a disaster. John Elmore is the Greene County CERT Coordinator.
“So anything you can do to better prepare yourself, the better off you’re going to be and your family is going to be.”
For preparedness month, the Red Cross will also be partnering with the Salvation Army on September 22nd for a blood drive and to discuss with senior citizens the importance of being prepared.
For KSMU News, I’m Matt Evans.