Letter to the Editor - December 12: Safety starts with plan

THE fire season has started all too early which means we need to get stuck into being prepared for disasters and emergencies now.

Red Cross is working hard to support as many people as we can in the lead up to summer, to be prepared not only for fires, but any emergency or disaster event which could catch you off guard.

Each year disasters affect thousands of people across Australia. Lives are lost and disrupted, people injured, jobs affected and significant damage caused to homes and property.

Despite disasters being fresh in our minds, many of us still aren't adequately prepared and haven't really thought through protecting those irreplaceable items that are most precious to us.

New research commissioned by Red Cross found 57% of people in NSW had not included items of personal value in their emergency plan.

62% of Australians said they wouldn't be upset at all if they lost those irreplaceable items. But we've seen first hand how losing precious and irreplaceable items makes it even harder for people to recover from a disaster.

The loss of these objects can be as traumatic as coping with the disaster, as they anchor us to our past. When making your emergency plan, don't overlook cherished items like your photos, special gifts, mementoes or the kids' favourite toys.

There are simple steps you can take to ensure your safety, the safety of your loved ones, your livelihood and the things you hold dear. Find out what the risks are in your community, download an emergency REDi-plan from Red Cross and work through it with your family, get an emergency kit and get to know your neighbours.

It is never too early to be prepared. It could save your life.

Annie Harvey
Executive Director, NSW
Australian Red Cross

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