Red Cross gears up for 'preparedness' month

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - September is National Preparedness Month.

The Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee is working hard to make sure the public has what it needs to be prepared when disaster strikes.

"The month of September every year is time designated for us to really focus on getting ourselves and our communities prepared for the emergencies and disasters that happen in our lives," said Glenda Bobalike, executive director of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee.

The idea to highlight preparedness came shortly after the September 11 attacks almost 12 years ago. "It really came out of the September 11 event. The Department of Homeland Security, along with a lot of partners including the Red Cross, were needed to be a little more proactive in getting everybody to be prepared," said Bobalike.

The Red Cross has developed a three-step process to help get people ready for their own emergencies.

First, make a plan. Then, create a kit of necessary items need during an emergency. Finally, get to know your community and the services that are available to you during an emergency.

The Red Cross recently developed an app for Apple and Android mobile devices to make the preparation and response process easier.

The Sullivan County EMS encourages people to plan and prepare to make the roughest times a bit smoother. "When people are prepared on our own that make our job a lot easier. They have less problems less need everything goes a lot more smooth," said Fred McGrew, Sullivan County EMS.

On September 14 the Red Cross, along with other emergency agencies across the region, will host a preparedness fair at University Parkway Baptist Church in Johnson City. The event will begins at 9 a.m. and is expected to end at 1 p.m.

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