Thursday, August 17, 2017

Are you ready for an earthquake? New infographic can help keep you safe

It’s a beautiful day and you’re leaving your home for the day.

Suddenly, the ground starts to shake: It’s an earthquake! Do you know what to do?

Earthquakes are more common than you think. And they don’t just happen on the West Coast. Globally, there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes every year, the U.S. Geological Survey says. Only about 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 cause damage.

Though you may not have heard about them in the news, there were earthquakes in California, Greece, Peru, Russia and other countries in the past month. People in Oklahoma experienced seven earthquakes in 28 hours in early August, causing power outages.

With so many earthquakes, it’s important to know what to do beforehand. Which is why our new Get Ready infographic is so handy.

It tells you what to do before, during and after an earthquake. The infographic is great for hanging on your bulletin board or the fridge at home, work or school.

Learn more about preparing for earthquakes with Get Ready’s earthquake fact sheet and check out our other awesome preparedness infographics.

Remember, earthquakes can strike at any time, so be prepared to drop, cover and hold on!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Foodborne illness: Spend your summer outdoors, not in the bathroom

Summertime means fun in the sun, but it can also bring foodborne illness. (Blech!) No one wants to spend their summer with an upset stomach — or worse. So what can you do to prevent it?

In our latest podcast, the Get Ready team interviews Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida, to find out.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1 in 6 Americans is affected by foodborne illness each year, adding up to roughly 48 million people. Unfortunately, warm summer weather can make it easier for germs to flourish in your food.

“When bacteria are hot, they grow,” Morris says. “And when they grow, they increase the likelihood that they are going to be able to increase illness.”

If you’re planning to have a picnic or family cookout this summer, Morris recommends that you use two separate cutting boards for food prep. You’ll want one for raw food and one for cooked foods and produce, so germs don’t spread. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands!

“This seems very basic,” Morris said. “But a lot of the pathogens that can get onto or into foods are carried by hands. So always wash your hands before you prepare food.

Other tips? Make sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. And ensure that your meats are cooked to a safe temperature. That means that all hamburger meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken cooked to at least 165 degrees.

Morris also shares information on the difference between a medium-rare steak and a medium-rare hamburger. Why is one OK to eat while the other is not? Listen to this episode of our Get Ready Report to find out!

The Get Ready Report can be found for free on any podcast app on your smartphone, including iTunes, so subscribe now to get updates on our latest episodes.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Get ready to go! Tips for safe international travel

Over 70 million Americans travelled internationally last year, seeing new places, making new friends and posting a bajillion gorgeous Instagram photos that made us completely jealous.

If you’re planning to head out and explore the world this year, remember that it’s not all fun and games out there. Disasters and other hazards can happen while you’re away from home, so you need to be prepared. Here’s a quick rundown:

Be proactive: Read up on the types of disasters common to the area you’re visiting and learn what to do if they happen. For example, Peru is prone to heavy rains and flooding. Japan is known for its earthquakes and Hawaii has volcanoes. Another to-do before you go is to learn about local radio and emergency alert systems so you can find safety if needed. The National Association of Radio Distress-Signaling and Info-communications (RSOE) manages and updates an Emergency and Disaster Information Service (EDIS) available for free online. Be sure to give them a look when next heading out of the country.

Be prepared: Get vaccinated. Visit your health care provider at least four weeks before you travel. Make sure you are up to date on your immunizations and find out what’s recommended for your destination. It’s also smart to pack a small preparedness kit when traveling. Include your prescription medications as well as hand sanitizer, insect repellent, sunscreen and water purification tablets. The U.S. Department of State recommends that you enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and register at the U.S. embassy where you will be travelling. This allows you to get important information and safety conditions in your country of destination. Be sure to memorize or carry with you important phone numbers and addresses of places you are staying. Make sure that everyone in your group knows where to meet if communication goes down.

Be protected: If an emergency does occur, follow all instructions from local authorities. Don’t hesitate to evacuate if told to.

While it is unlikely that disasters will ruin your trip, it’s better to be safe. Prepare yourself well, and enjoy your stay!

Photo courtesy Pexels/Pixabay

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Heating things up: The USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline’s popular summer questions

Today’s guest blog is by Janell Goodwin, a technical information specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, who tackles some of your summer food safety questions.

It’s summertime, and USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline agents are heating things up by answering your food safety questions! Hotline experts keep the public safe from foodborne illness by answering calls on all sorts of food safety topics.

As a technical information specialist on the hotline, the first question consumers usually ask is “Are you a real person?” The answer is “Yes!” The hotline has real, live people who single-handedly answer every one of your food safety questions. In fact, since the start of the hotline in 1985, more than 3 million calls from the public have been answered.

Summer is filled with tons of activities, festivals, concerts and most importantly, food! The hotline wants to make sure your summer is free from foodborne illness. When it comes to questions, we’ve probably heard them all. Here are a few of the most popular questions answered during summer:

I want to marinate my meat before I grill. I can just leave it on the counter while it’s marinating, right? No, marinating should be done in the refrigerator for safety.

Is it true that my hamburger is done when it turns mostly brown on the inside and the juices run clear? Your burger is only safe when it has reached an internal temperature of 160°F, as measured by a food thermometer.

I’m going to a park to grill and won’t have access to running water. What should I use to clean my hands and utensils? Bring water and soap for preparation and cleaning, or pack clean cloths and moist towelettes.

I’m going to a friend’s for a barbeque. I want to bring something to grill there. Is it safe to partially cook meat or poultry to finish grilling later? Never brown or partially cook meat or poultry to refrigerate and finish later because any bacteria present would not have been destroyed.

Is it OK to refrigerate or freeze leftover cooked hamburgers? If it’s refrigerated promptly after cooking — within two hours, or one hour if the temperature outside is above 90°F — it can be safely refrigerated or frozen.

Need more food safety information? Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-674-6854 Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. Or email or chat at AskKaren.gov.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Beat the heat with our new summer infographic

Summer is officially in full force, and that means beaches, water fights and delicious barbeques.

But, unfortunately, summer can also mean heat, dehydration, ticks, mosquitoes and other hazards. Luckily, APHA’s Get Ready campaign is here to show you how to reduce your risks and stay summer safe.

Our new summer infographic can help make this summer one you remember for the right reasons. The infographic is perfect for sharing via social media, websites and events in your neighborhood. Get tips for staying safe in the sun and getting cool.

For even more summertime safety tips, check out our new Storify report for easy-to-read information on water safety, sunscreen, weather disasters, food safety and more!

Still can’t get enough? Visit the Get Ready Summer Safe webpage for fact sheets, podcasts and other resources that can help keep your summertime activities safe from disasters.

Now you’re ready for some awesome summertime fun!