Americans unprepared

Almost a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, six in 10 Americans still have no evacuation plan in place, a new poll says.

Of those Americans who do have an evacuation plan, almost three in four say they have not practiced their family plan, says the poll, fielded in May by the American Red Cross.

Almost seven in 10 have not designated a place for family members to reunite after an emergency, the study says, and almost six in 10 have not established an emergency contact.

Almost two in three people have not developed a plan to keep their pets safe in case of an emergency.

While more than half of Americans say they have assembled a disaster supply kit, and eight in 10 of those say they have checked on or updated their kids in the last six months, many are unclear about exactly what a kit should include.

The Charlotte-based Greater Carolinas chapter of the Red Cross recommends following three steps to become prepared.

Those steps including being aware of the disasters that could affect your area, developing a plan for how you will deal with the disaster, and building a disaster kit by collecting necessary items.

Disaster kits should contain items needed to survive for about three days, until emergency crews arrive.

Tips for being prepared for a disaster are available at http://www.redcrosshelps.org/.

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