American Red Cross Urges Texoma to Prepare

Disasters can strike at any time, so The American Red Cross, North Central Texas Chapter, encourages everyone to take the first step during National Preparedness Month by creating a disaster plan for their household.

"Having an emergency plan is an important step so everyone in the household knows what they should do if something happens," said Katrina Farmer, "We believe people should mark National Preparedness Month by creating or updating their plan."

The plan should include ways to contact one another and two places to meet. One near the home in case of a sudden emergency like a fire, and one outside the neighborhood in case circumstances prevent people from returning home.

Farmer said the most common threat people face across the country is a fire in their home. So this is a great time to develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone in the household.

When developing the plan, walk through the home and look at all exits and possible escape routes, including windows. List two ways to get out of every room in case fire blocks one of the paths. Pick a place to meet outside, a safe distance away and - no matter the circumstances - stay out of the home until fire officials say it is okay to go back inside. All households should practice their plan at least twice a year.

People should also install smoke alarms on every level of their home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. They should test the alarms monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year and replace them every ten years.