According to an April 2007 poll conducted by the American Red Cross and Harris Interactive, only seven percent of the population has taken what the Red Cross considers the three steps necessary to prepare for a disaster or emergency: get a kit, make a plan, and be informed. With June as the first month of hurricane season, the Red Cross encourages people to take its new, free online tutorial.

The tutorial will show visitors exactly how to complete each of the three steps: get a kit, make a plan, and be informed. The American Red Cross recommends:

  • Families assemble or buy a disaster kit containing at least three days of supplies in an easy-to-carry container, like a backpack. It's also important to check that stock every six months and replace expired items.
  • As part of your family plan, each person should know how to reach family members and where to meet if they can't go home.
  • Families should learn about what types of disasters or emergencies are most likely to occur where they live, work and play, and take first aid and CPR courses -- a vital component of disaster preparedness.

"Even though hurricanes primarily affect coastal states, every region of our country is vulnerable to disasters of some type like flooding, severe storms, high winds, power outages, tornadoes, earthquakes, or wildfires," said Red Cross preparedness expert Darlene Sparks Washington. "Every family, no matter where they live, can benefit from following the preparedness actions of Be Red Cross Ready: get a kit, make a plan, and be informed."

"Preparing for a potential emergency or disaster doesn't require a lot of time or expensive equipment and training. In fact, to help Americans prepare the Red Cross has developed a free online tutorial," continued Washington. "To view the tutorial just visit www.redcross.org/BeRedCrossReady and in less than twenty minutes you'll learn exactly how you can become Red Cross Ready by getting a kit, making a plan, and becoming informed."

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey of more than 2,500 respondents during April 10-16, 2007. Results also demonstrate that:

  • 90 percent of Americans who have a disaster kit feel prepared. Yet, only 28 percent actually have a kit.
  • 60 percent of American households own a pet, yet only 37 percent have a plan for their pets during a disaster.
  • 69 percent of Americans living in hurricane-prone states don't have a disaster supplies kit, and 60 percent don't have an evacuation plan.
  • 64 percent of Americans have no evacuation plan, even though 27 percent have had to leave home for at least one night because of a disaster or other emergency.