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Break the Ice, Talk Today
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Shilpika Das
November 20, 2007

When Dan and Angela Gustafson tied the knot two years ago, they received an unusual wedding gift: an American Red Cross emergency preparedness kit. Armed with emergency essentials, Angela felt she was prepared for the worst. Two years later, however, Angela feels she needs to do more.

“When the I-35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, I realized that Dan and I didn’t have a communication plan in place beyond calling each other’s cell phones,” admits Angela, a Minneapolis resident.

The Gustafsons decided to design a communication plan that would include their two dogs, a place to meet after a disaster, and a way to contact family members.  

Four months later, Angela admits that they still haven’t made a plan, though they “keep meaning to talk about it.” The couple finally agreed to “Have the Talk” this Thanksgiving.
According to a recent survey by Nationwide, an insurance and financial service organization, 76 percent of those surveyed admit talking about difficult topics can prevent long-term problems. However, the same survey suggests that 43 percent of married people avoid difficult conversations with their spouse.

Nationwide has designated November 20 as the first-ever Have The Talk Day – a day intended to jump-start conversations about difficult or awkward topics such as disaster planning, personal finances, planning for retirement and safe driving. Through the Website www.HaveTheTalkAmerica.com, Nationwide provides a variety of tools to help make it easier to Have The Talk, including a quiz that offers tips based on individual communication styles, an information library to help prepare for difficult conversations, and even digital ice-breakers.
For everyone who goes to the Website by November 20 and pledges to Have The Talk, Nationwide will donate $1 (up to a guaranteed maximum of $25,000) to the American Red Cross to support disaster preparedness and response initiatives.

For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips, visit RedCross.org.

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.

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