As Irene moves north, American Red Cross of Northern New York urges preparedness
Friday, August 26, 2011 - 9:02 am

As uncertainty over the path of Hurricane Irene leaves folks in the North Country unsure of what to do, the American Red Cross of Northern New York is urging preparedness as the first step to ensuring safety.

Personal preparedness can help keep people safer during an emergency, the Red Cross said in an announcement Thursday.

Having an up-to date-family communications plan can alleviate fear and provide peace of mind. In preparation for Hurricane Irene, it is advisable to let your family and friends know your plans. Should the hurricane make landfall, electricity and phone lines may go down, and loved ones across the country may fear for the safety of those in the disaster area.

A communication tool that families can integrate into their plan is the Red Cross Safe and Well website, accessed via www.redcross.org. This public website allows those affected by disaster to register themselves as “safe and well” by posting standard messages that indicate they are at a shelter, home, or hotel and will make contact when they are able. Concerned family members who know the person's phone number or a complete home address can search for the posted messages. In addition to bringing peace of mind to those outside of the disaster area, use of this tool helps mitigate congestion of public and cellular telephone lines and reduces the burden on emergency responders.

The Red Cross notes that the Safe and Well website safeguards the registrant’s privacy. Standard messages are enough to provide peace of mind, but the site does not reveal the registrant’s specific location or contact information. The Safe and Well website is also available in Spanish at www.sanoysalvo.org.

People without access to a computer, without electricity or in need of help from an interpreter can call the Red Cross at 1-800 RED CROSS to register.

For more information on hurricane preparedness and Safe and Well, contact the Northern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross at 268-0102, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS.