Safe and Well in the eye of the storm

Hurricane season is upon us, and while we don’t consider ourselves in danger here in Ohio, chances are we know someone living on the east coast of the United States who is in the projected path of Hurricane Irene.  With Irene expected to make landfall within days, now is the time to make sure your loved ones have an emergency communication plan.

Immediately after a major disaster, phone lines can be down, electricity out and family members frantic to know if loved ones are safe. The American Red Cross developed an on-line tool to help families and individuals notify loved ones that they are safe during an emergency. Redcross.org features a secure section called Safe and Well, where people in a disaster-affected area can register their well-being and where loved ones can access that information. The site also allows disaster victims to update their status on Facebook and Twitter during the registration process. With just one quick registration, your loved ones can provide you, and all of their family and friends,  with peace of mind.

Here’s how it works: When you visit the Safe and Well site and choose “List Myself as Safe and Well,” you will then be asked for your name, pre-disaster address and phone number. You can select from a menu of pre-scripted messages or create your own personalized message that will be viewed by your loved ones. If you don’t have internet access, you can register with Safe and Well by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or have a loved one register you on the site.

For concerned family members, you can visit the “Search” page, enter the person’s name and pre-disaster phone number or complete address. If your loved one has registered, you will be able to view the messages that they posted. It’s that simple.

There is even a mobile version of the Safe and Well website that can be easily accessed from smart phones. Accessible at www.redcross.org/safeandwell from your cell phone browser, you can either register yourself as “safe and well” or search for a loved one.

So, be sure to share this information with folks you know living in the projected path of the hurricane, and remember to access Safe and Well when you find yourself in the eye of the storm.

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