Red Cross Ready


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What Does it Mean to Be Prepared?

This week Wild Iris staff participated in an American Red Cross Training to become certified in First Aid and CPR. We also took a course in Preparedness- or, how to be ready for a disaster. The most important aspects of preparing for a disaster are having a plan, and having an emergency kit. Many of you might already have a plan at home for what to do if there is a fire, earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster. But if you are a victim of domestic violence, do you have an emergency plan for when the disaster comes from within your household? Just like being prepared for a fire, being prepared for when violence escalates within your home could save lives. The steps are the same. You need a plan and a kit.
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The American Red Cross has a great tool that helps you decide what you need in your emergency kit on their website at arcbrcr.org. How does your plan and your kit neeed to be different when factoring in domestic violence?

To create an emergency safety plan for you, your children and/or your pets, start by considering the following:

  • Where are the exits in your home? Do your children know where all the exits are? If you feel an argument escalating, try to move it into a room with an exit and away from the kitchen, where there are many objects that can be used as weapons.

  • Where is a place that you can go if you need to leave the home, such as a public location or a neighbor’s home. Teach your children a code word that would indicate that they need to escape and go to this safe location.

  • Do your children know when it’s necessary to call law enforcement? A code word can be useful for this as well. Do they know how to access the phone in your home, or who it is safe to ask for help. This is another instance where including a neighbor in your safety plan can be valuable, if you feel it is safe to do so.

  • Where can you hide your “kit” that your partner won’t find? Can you keep a bag at a neighbor or friend’s house, your office, the trunk of your car, or the back of the closet? Your kit should include a lot of the same items that your disaster kit should include- copies of all of your important documents, enough food, water, clothing, and cash to get you and your family members through a few days. Make sure to keep extras of important items like medication, car, or house keys as well.

  • Practice makes perfect- make sure to practice exiting the home safely. Which windows/doors/stairs/elevators are best? Who is in charge of grabbing Fido, if your pets are part of your safety plan? What is Plan B if your original exit is blocked?

  • Memorize a few key emergency phone numbers. Make sure to know the number for a friend, neighbor, or someone else you trust. Also make sure you know the number to your local shelter- here in Inyo and Mono County our 24-hour Crisis Line is 877-873-7384.

  • Remember to protect your emotional health as well. Plan to talk with a counselor or a close friend about your situation.