Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Sun Editorial:

Responding to natural disasters

Red Cross launches valuable campaign to spread word about emergency preparedness

“Do more than cross your fingers” is the theme of an initiative launched Tuesday by the American Red Cross to encourage people to better prepare for emergencies.

It is advice that should be taken seriously.

Southern Nevadans are luckier than many others throughout the country who have been tormented by major earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms. But the Las Vegas Valley is not immune to natural disasters.

The valley is prone to flash flooding, with a 2003 flood having damaged 180 homes and 80 businesses. Nevada is also the nation’s fourth most earthquake-prone state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There is a belief among some people that there is no reason to prepare for potential disasters because federal, state or local emergency responders will always come to the rescue. But those beliefs are mistaken, in part because limited financial resources often force police and fire departments and other emergency agencies to concentrate their personnel where they are most needed. And where they are most needed might not be in your neighborhood or place of business, even if you believe otherwise.

That is why people should familiarize themselves with the emergency preparedness information the Red Cross is distributing through its public awareness campaign. One way to obtain the information is through the Web site RedCross.org/domore.

The information touches on preparedness at home, school and the workplace. There are useful tips for disabled individuals and for families with children and pets. Checklists are provided for specific types of natural disasters.

The Red Cross is doing its part to make Americans aware of how they can prepare for disasters. It will be tragic if the organization’s advice is ignored.

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