Red Cross: Prepare now for Alaska disasters
As the U.S. enters National Preparedness Month, local Red Cross officials say the Last Frontier has many dire situations Alaskans should plan for.
Anchorage's Earthquake Park draws plenty of visitors. They come to learn more about the devastating 1964 Good Friday earthquake, and how it changed both the city and the state.
Among those who stopped by Saturday were first-time visitors Jeff and Kate Recker of Orlando, Florida.
"It's great, it's great to see something so different than what you're used to," said Recker.
Alaska and the Sunshine State experience their share of natural disasters. Alaska averages 47 earthquakes a day, while Florida deals with hurricanes and other major storms.
"After you go through one or two of them, you kind of know what to expect," said Jeff Recker, who believes he and his wife are prepared should the next hurricane hit their neighborhood.
The American Red Cross of Alaska wants to make sure everyone is ready for when an emergency strikes. Spokeswoman Celia Jackson says the most important needs are medical and nutritional.
"First of all, of course, you want to have a first-aid kit," Jackson said. "You want to have non-perishable food and snacks."
The Red Cross says this is the time to make sure you're ready for a disaster.
"If you haven't thought about it for awhile and even if you do have a kit, go through it, make sure nothing has expired, everything is just like when you last looked at it," Jackson said.
Kodiak residents got some disaster practice in January, when word came that they should seek higher ground after a 7.9 earthquake hit the Gulf of Alaska. Luckily, no tsunami struck the island, but the quake served as a test drill.
"You want to know what your evacuation routes are ahead of time, and practice that at least two times a year," Jackson said. "Make sure your car has gas, because the last thing you want to do in an evacuation is stand at the pump."
While the Red Cross encourages people to have emergency kits handy, the Reckers don't seem too concerned.
"I've always worked in retail, and had keys to the store and (managers) said we can get it if we need it," Kate Recker said, as she and her husband focused more on the scene of Alaska's worst natural disaster than what could happen to them back home.
Read more about preparing a survival kit on the Red Cross website.
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