Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Halloween e-cards from Get Ready: Nothing’s scarier than being unprepared

Halloween is here, and for APHA’s Get Ready team that means two things: flu season and time to check your emergency supplies.

  • Get your flu shot! While there’s been a lot of talk about Ebola lately, we can’t forget about preparing for the flu. It kills thousands of Americans every year and poses a major risk for adults over 65, pregnant women and people with serious health conditions. Getting vaccinated, however, can help prevent the flu, so get your flu shot today!
  • Set your clocks, check your stocks: Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, Nov. 2. When you change your clocks, take some time to also check your emergency stockpile. Make sure food supplies haven’t expired and your emergency kit is complete. Do this twice a year when the time changes to help you and your family be prepared when it matters.

We’ve created two new Halloween e-cards to share the importance of preparedness with friends and family. Spread some Halloween cheer and let them know what’s really spooky this time of year – not being prepared!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Guest blog: Tips for staying safe in severe weather

Today’s guest blog is by Marcela Campoli, MHA, a Washington, D.C.-area business consultant. She has experience in emergency preparedness and working with health promoters in community health and prevention. Campoli is a member of APHA’s Equal Health Opportunity Committee.

This post is also available in Spanish.
 
Severe weather can occur at any time of the year. Do you have a family plan in case of an emergency? If not, now is a perfect time to do so. It only takes 15 minutes to do and practice your plan.

What is considered extreme weather?
Tropical storms and tornadoes: Strong winds can cause severe weather. When a tropical storm moves through large expanses of open water, it can become a hurricane. Hurricanes can cover hundreds of miles and generate a lot of damage.
 
Tornadoes are also a wind hazard. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tornadoes are the most violent storms of nature, capable of reaching wind speeds of 300 miles per hour. Tornadoes are unpredictable and often their devastation can cost millions of dollars.
 
Extreme heat, drought and fire: Extreme heat is a consequence of climate change. When temperatures rise above 90 degrees, heat overexposure can dehydrate you and push your body beyond its limits. In dry climates, a severe heat can cause a drought. Droughts can destroy crops and limit the water supply to the community. Heat can also start forest fires. These fires can wake up and act quickly and without warning, moving through wooded areas or slopes, claiming homes or entire neighborhoods on their way.
 
Extreme cold and snowstorms: Extreme cold also has serious dangers. When temperatures drop well below the freezing point of 32 degrees, prolonged exposure can mean frostbite, hypothermia and even loss of limbs.
 
Snowstorms and blizzards can cripple a business, closing roads and, knocking out power. Most snow systems are developed in the northern part of the USA, but the snow does sometimes hit southern states like Texas or Florida. Snow systems in these states can be dangerous without much accumulation because many southern communities are not equipped to deal with a winter storm.

Be a force of nature: take the first step
Whatever extreme weather, it is important to be prepared.
  1. Assess your environment and understand the risks of different climates to which you and your family are exposed.
  2. Have an action plan and frequently practice the procedures.
  3. Stay informed.
  4. If you are planning an outdoor activity, check the weather first.
If an alarm is issued, the general preventive measures are:
  • Avoid windows.
  • Seek shelter in safe places at low levels inside buildings and houses.
  • Avoid outdoor activities.
  • Seek shelter in safe places.
  • Avoid using telephones, computers or any device connected to electricity.
No state in the United States is free of severe weather hazards. Each region of the country faces specific climate hazards due to its climate and location. Although some states are more likely to face some severe weather conditions, some weather emergencies can occur anywhere.

Being prepared when severe weather occurs not only makes life easier, it can save lives.

For more information on tornadoes, heat, cold and other severe weather, check out our Get Ready fact sheets. Read this post in Spanish on APHA’s Get Ready Blog.
 

Blog invitado: Medidas de seguridad en climas severos

Marcela Campoli, MHA, blog invitado de hoy, es una consultora negocios en Washington, D.C. Tiene experiencia en la preparación para emergencias y trabajando con los promotores de salud en la salud comunitaria y prevención. Campoli es un miembro del Comité de Igualdad de Oportunidades de la Salud de APHA.

Climas severos pueden ocurrir en cualquier momento y estación del año. ¿Tiene un plan familiar en caso de que se presente una emergencia? Si no, entonces ahora es un tiempo perfecto para hacerlo. Sólo le llevará 15 minutos hacer y practicar su plan. Tome en cuenta la siguiente información.

¿A qué se considera clima extremo?
  • Tormentas tropicales y tornados: Los vientos fuertes pueden causar severas condiciones climáticas. Cuando una tormenta tropical se desplaza a través de grandes extensiones de aguas abiertas, puede convertirse en un huracán. Los huracanes pueden abarcar cientos de millas y generar mucho daño.

    Los tornados son otro peligro a base de viento. Según FEMA, los tornados son las tormentas más violentas de la naturaleza, capaz de alcanzar velocidades de viento de 300 millas por hora. Los tornados son impredecibles y la devastación suele ser millonaria.
     
  • Calor extremo, sequías e incendios: El calor extremo es una consecuencia de los cambios climáticos. Cuando las temperaturas se elevan por encima de 90 o 100 grados, la sobreexposición a este tipo de calor puede deshidratar el cuerpo e imponer tus órganos más allá de sus límites. En climas secos ya, un calor severo puede causar una sequía. Las sequías pueden destruir cultivos y limitar el suministro de agua a la comunidad. El calor que puede conducir a una sequía también puede iniciar un incendio forestal. Estos incendios pueden despertar y actuar con rapidez y sin previo aviso, moviéndose a través de las zonas boscosas o laderas, reclamando en su paso viviendas o barrios enteros.
       
  • Frío extremo y tormentas de nieve: El frío extremo conlleva serios peligros. Cuando las temperaturas caen muy por debajo del punto de congelación de 32 grados, la exposición prolongada puede significar congelación, hipotermia e incluso la pérdida de extremidades.

    Las tormentas de nieve y ventiscas pueden paralizar un área cerrando caminos y negocios y dejando sin electricidad. La mayoría de los sistemas de nieve se desarrollan en la parte norte de los EE.UU., pero la nieve no golpear a veces los estados del sur como Texas o Florida. Los sistemas de nieve en estos estados pueden ser peligrosos sin mucha acumulación debido a que muchas comunidades del sur no están equipadas para hacer frente a una tormenta de invierno.
Sea una fuerza de la naturaleza: dé el primer paso
Cualquiera sea el clima extremo, es importante estar preparado.
  1. Evalúe su entorno y entienda los riesgos de los diferentes climas a los que usted y su familia están expuestos.
  2. Tenga un plan de acción y practique frecuentemente los procedimientos a seguir.
  3. Manténgase informado
  4. Si está planeando una actividad al aire libre primero investigue el pronóstico del tiempo
Si se emite una alarma, como medidas generales de prevención:
  • Evite las ventanas.
  • Busque refugio en lugares seguros en niveles bajos de edificios y casas.
  • Evite actividades al aire libre.
  • Busque refugios en lugares seguros.
  • Evite el uso de teléfonos, computadoras o cualquier artefacto conectado a la electricidad.
Ninguna parte de Estados Unidos está libre de peligros climáticos severos. Cada región del país se enfrenta a amenazas climáticas específicas debido a su clima y ubicación. Aunque algunos estados tienen más probabilidades de enfrentarse a ciertas condiciones climáticas severas que otros, algunas emergencias climáticas son al azar y pueden ocurrir en cualquier parte. Estar preparado cuando ocurre un clima severo no sólo hace la vida más fácil, sino que puede salvar vidas.

Para obtener más información acerca de los tornados, el calor, el frío y otras condiciones meteorológicas adversas, visita nuestra hojas informativas de Get Ready. Lea este publicacíon en inglés en el Get Ready Blog de APHA.
 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Easy-to-understand fact sheet on Ebola now available from Get Ready

Have questions on Ebola? Want to help your friends, family and community understand the disease and its risks?

APHA’s Get Ready campaign has a new free tool you can use. Our fact sheet on Ebola has answers to common questions on the disease. The fact sheet features information from leading authorities on Ebola — such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization — in a simple, easy-to-understand  format.

Use the Get Ready fact sheet to share information on how Ebola spreads, its symptoms and what to do to prevent it. You can even add your group’s logo.

Read and share the fact sheet now or download and print the formatted PDF.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A double threat: Driving and disasters

Photo: Marvin Nauman, FEMA
Disasters can happen when you’re on the road. Make sure you’re prepared for disasters where and whenever they may happen.

If you’re heading on a trip, find out what disasters are likely to happen where you’re driving. Have emergency supplies in your car. Common supplies include food and water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries and a battery-operated radio. You may also want to have an ice scraper and a bag of sand in case you find yourself in a slippery situation.

Finally, make sure your car is ready for a disaster. This means having a full tank of gas, enough air in the tires and working windshield wipers.

Here are some specific tips to help you stay safe if a natural disaster happens while you’re in a vehicle:
  • Tornadoes: Seek shelter. If there is flying debris, pull over and park.
  • Floods: Never drive in flooded areas. Water can be much deeper than it appears.
  • Landslides: Watch for fallen rocks and other signs of a landslide.
  • Earthquakes: Drive out of traffic and park away from trees and other things that may fall.
  • Wildfires: Don’t drive through heavy smoke. If you have to stop, park away from trees and bushes, leave the headlights on and turn off the car.
  • Blizzards: Pull off the road and turn on hazard lights. Run the heater and engine for 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is on, crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not leave your car unless you know where you can find shelter.
If you resume driving after a disaster, be careful to avoid downed power lines, cracks in the road and any other road hazards. Remember: It may be difficult to abandon your car, but it’s important that you don’t hesitate if the situation calls for it.

To learn more about disasters and driving, check out our Get Ready fact sheet.