Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How You Can Help the American Red Cross


Since March is Red Cross month, now is a good time to get involved with one of the nation’s leading humanitarian organizations dedicated to assisting people in need throughout the United States and the world. Since 2006, the Red Cross and FEMA have worked together to help government agencies and community organizations provide food, shelter, and family reunification services for people affected by disasters.
Each year, the Red Cross responds to about 70,000 natural and man-made disasters in the U.S.  In the past this organization and its partners have opened 1,400 evacuation shelters for disaster survivors, provided services for nearly 450,000 evacuees, and provided more than 68 million hot meals in the U.S. alone.
To provide these services, the Red Cross depends on public support. There are many ways to get involved. You can make a donationvolunteer in your community, give blood, or become a digital advocate, among other things. To learn more about how you can help, visit RedCross.org.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wireless Emergency Alerts


Have you ever noticed a unique sound and vibration coming from your cell phone?  You may have received a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) - a nationwide emergency alert system notifying you of a pending emergency in your area. These messages provide information about extreme weather warnings, local emergencies, AMBER Alerts™, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.
WEAs look like a text message and show the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert. If you receive a WEA, follow any directions advised by the message and seek additional information from local media or authorities.
WEAs are sent by authorized government agencies through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service.
WEA messages can save lives! To learn more check, out FEMA’s WEA Public Service Announcements and the Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide from America’s PrepareAthon!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Food Safety During Blackouts


Loss of power can jeopardize the safety of the food stored in your home refrigerator or freezer. In the event of a blackout, do you know how to determine if your food is safe to eat? The U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) offers tips to minimize the potential loss of food and lower the risk of foodborne illness.
Before a blackout:
  • Gather an emergency supply of shelf-stable food, packaged foods, boxed or canned milk, bottle water, and canned goods;
  • Have coolers and frozen gel packs on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power goes out longer than four hours; and
  • Keep freezer items close together—this helps the food stay cold longer.
Bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA instructs setting your refrigerator at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If the power is out for less than four hours and the refrigerator door is kept closed, your food should be safe.
Following a blackout:
  • Discard any perishable food items such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers that have been exposed to temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more;
  • Use a food thermometer to test the temperature of food – never taste it!  You can’t rely on appearance and odor to determine whether food is safe; and
  • Discard any items in the refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat, seafood, or poultry juices.
Power outages can occur anywhere at any time of the year. Make sure you and your family are prepared and know what to do to avoid getting sick.

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