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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
E-MAIL
[email protected]

Wednesday, July 3, 2002
American Red Cross Releases Homeland Security; Preparedness Guidelines for Families, Schools, Businesses

As the FBI assumes a heightened security posture for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend, the American Red Cross reminds the public, schools and businesses to stay informed about disaster preparedness, be vigilant of their surroundings and ensure an available blood supply.

Using the government's color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System, the Red Cross has tailored specific disaster readiness information for families, individuals, schools, neighborhoods and businesses. These Red Cross Guidelines for Homeland Security Advisories are available for the public at www.redcross.org.

In March 2002, the White House established a comprehensive structure communicating the risk of terrorist attacks for federal, state and local authorities. The Homeland Security Advisory System sets forth appropriate levels of preparedness in a series of graduated terrorist threat conditions:

  • Green: Low (low risk of terrorist attack)
  • Blue: Guarded (general risk of terrorist attack)
  • Yellow: Elevated (significant risk of terrorist attack)
  • Orange: High (high risk of terrorist attack)
  • Red: Severe (severe risk of terrorist attack)

This Homeland Security Advisory System suggests preparedness activities that relate mainly to federal agencies. Recognizing the need to provide specific preparedness recommendations for members of the public, the Red Cross has taken the extra steps to set out guidelines for citizens and communities that correlate to each threat level outlined by the Advisory System:

  • Individuals -- The recommendations for individuals range from developing a personal disaster plan in low-threat level conditions to being prepared to seek shelter or evacuate during times when the federal government issues a severe risk of attack warning. Additionally, a stable blood supply is critical to ensuring patients' needs will be met should homeland security be threatened, and anyone who can donate blood is encouraged to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule an appointment.
  • Families -- Among other recommendations, the Red Cross advises families to develop a family communication plan to follow in high-risk situations and to discuss fears about terrorism with every member of the family, especially children.
  • Neighborhoods -- Even during low threat periods, establishing a "neighborhood watch" group and creating a contingency plan for emergencies is advised. In response to higher threat levels and a clearly announced need for blood, neighborhoods can band together and organize a blood drive.
  • Schools -- The Red Cross "Masters of Disasters" curriculum can be used to educate students about disaster preparedness. School and district administrators should develop a written emergency plan and be prepared to follow instructions from local authorities if the threat level is high enough to warrant school closings.
  • Businesses -- Recommendations include using the Red Cross Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry to develop written emergency plans to address all workplace hazards and contacting a private security firm to conduct a risk assessment.

To download the full versions of the Red Cross Guidelines for Homeland Security Advisories, visit the "Spotlight" box at www.redcross.org, where you can also find a wide variety of free publications in a variety of languages to help citizens prepare for terrorism and natural disasters. To donate blood or host a blood drive at your business, please call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.

The American Red Cross is dedicated to saving lives, easing suffering and restoring hope at home and around the world. The Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to the victims of more than 73,000 disasters nationwide and has been the primary supplier of lifesaving blood and blood products in the United States for more than 50 years. Last year, the Red Cross also trained almost 12 million people in vital lifesaving skills and delivered more than 21 million locally relevant community services. The organization also assisted international disaster and conflict victims in close to 40 locations around the globe, and its emergency communication centers processed 1.2 million calls in support of U.S. military families.

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