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      American Red Cross helps residents prepare for emergencies during National Preparedness Month

      September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross wants to make sure you and your family are ready for any and all emergencies.

      "That's what we try to do is prepare people, because really in the end, the more prepared you are, the better off you'll be after an emergency," says Matt Michael, Chief Communications Officer for the American Red Cross Central New York Region.

      On Wednesday, Red Cross volunteers helped people develop a disaster plan and build emergency kits with supplies including extra batteries, blankets, food and water. It invited people into its new downtown facility at 344 West Genesee Street in Syracuse.

      The Red Cross says these emergency kits would have helped people in the Mohawk Valley and Cortland County earlier this summer when floodwaters threatened and damaged their homes.

      "In both cases, quite frankly, people weren't prepared. They didn't have water or batteries or radios, things like that, to keep informed," says Michael. "They needed to go somewhere, and in some cases, they didn't need to. So we're encouraging them, maybe you can stay in your home if you have flooding in the basement. If you have the supplies you need, and your power is out, you can stay there for awhile."

      The Red Cross also wants to spread the word about its downtown location, which it only moved to in June.

      On Preparedness Day, The Red Crossheld a blood drive from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. .

      It offers free Blood Pressure Screenings every Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and hopes to hold blood drives more frequently in the future.

      If you were unable to make it out for National Preparedness Day but are looking to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies, you can call the American Red Cross of Central New York at (315) 234-2200.