As New Jersey continues to feel the impacts of climate change with more frequent and intense weather events threatening communities, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region is urging everyone to get ready for these emergencies now.

Last year, New Jersey was heavily impacted by Hurricane Henri in August and the remnants of Hurricane Ida in September, plus there have been several other devastating storms that have dumped inches of rain on the Garden State, causing severe flooding and forcing residents to evacuate their homes, said Diane Concannon, communications director of The American Red Cross New Jersey Region.

September is National Preparedness Month, so she said it’s important that everyone take steps to be prepared for such emergencies. Three simple steps can help to keep a family safe during disasters – get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

Get a Kit

Concannon said people should have an emergency kit handy in the house and accessible so that it can be grabbed in a hurry if an emergency arises or people need to evacuate.

The kit should be filled with a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food items, a flashlight, and a battery-operated radio. The kit should also include a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants and/or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, cell phone chargers, blankets, maps of the area, and emergency contact information.

Copies of important documents and papers should be added as well so that if the originals are lost in the home due to a fire, a flood, or some other disaster, copies are available, Concannon said.

Make a Plan

Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Concannon said plans should be coordinated with your  child’s school, your work, and your community’s emergency plan.

“Think about, if you had to evacuate, where would you go?” she said.

Pets should also be included in these emergency plans. Concannon suggested that people plan in advance to know which pet-friendly hotels are in the area, and where pets can stay in an emergency situation.

Stay Informed

Find out what emergency situations may occur where you live, work, and go to school, how local officials will contact you during a disaster, and how you will get important information, such as evacuation orders.

If you or your family is not affected by a disaster, an emergency situation, or an evacuation, Concannon urges you to consider helping your community.

The Red Cross always needs volunteers, she said. But the time to train is now. Go to and find out what is needed.

Concannon said the training is free. Learn lifesaving skills by signing up for first aid or CPR classes or make an appointment to give blood.

A strong blood supply is a key to preparedness for disasters and medical emergencies.
As a thank you to all who donate during the month of September, there are some incentives and gifts being offered.

All who come to give blood between Sept. 1 and Sept. 18, will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt. Additionally, anyone who gives blood throughout the month from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win a VIP NASCAR experience, including two tickets to a 2023 race, and will receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, Concannon said.

Donors can schedule an appointment to donate by either calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, by visiting, or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app.
This free mobile app is called “Emergency.”

“This app lets you know weather alerts, and in addition to that, it will tell you what to do before, during, and after at least 35 specific disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes,” Concannon said.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at

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