Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Community safety: Why you should be prepared for dam failure

Fact: there are way more dams than the Hoover Dam in the United States. Actually, there are over 87,000 dams across the country. There are nearly six times more dams than McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.
The Norris Dam in Tennessee
Norris Dam, Tennessee
Photo credit // Tennessee Valley Authority

There’s probably a dam close to where you live.  Dams are used for flood protection, power, recreation and more.

We all have to know the dangers to stay safe around dams. First and foremost, find out if you live near a dam. Call your local leaders to find out who owns and regulates dams near you. Ask if there is an emergency action plan in place in case there is a problem and how residents will be alerted during an emergency. Just like when preparing for a flood, know
your evacuation route and have emergency supplies packed to go. And be sure to have flood insurance.

The Fresno Dam, just north of Havre, Montana
The Fresno Dam created a major lake and
protects many communities in Montana.
Photo credit // Bureau of Reclamation
Around a third of dams pose a high risk to people and property if they fail, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The nation’s dams are aging, and there are a lot of reasons a dam can fail. Most people who live in “inundation zones” — aka the areas that would be flooded if a dam fails — don’t know they’re at risk.

One cause of dam failures is extreme storms. Keep a battery-operated radio in your emergency stockpile for updates on the water level if the power goes out during a storm.

If you swim in a lake made by a dam, stay away from the dam itself. There are often hidden pipes that suck in water. You definitely don’t want to be near one of those. Avoid the other side of the dam where the water comes out. Water levels can change fast because of how some dams work. This means that a calm stream can turn into a river in just a few minutes or even seconds.

For more information on getting ready for floods, check out our Get Ready fact sheet.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

USDA gives us the recipe for food safety

Ask Karen from USDA
Whether you’re throwing steaks on the grill or baking cookies in the oven, food safety is something we all have to think about. And food safety during and after a disaster is even more important. We wanted to know more, so we talked to Marianne Gravely, a food safety specialist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She told us all about two apps that USDA offers to help us know how to store food and how to eat well in an emergency. And we even got to ask her about the USDA’s #GrillinglikeaPro campaign! Plus, this year is the 30th anniversary of USDA’s Meat and Poultry hotline.

Seriously, though, food safety is really important. Foodborne illnesses sicken about 48 million people in the U.S. every year. We’ve posted our conversation with Gravely and we’re linking you to USDA’s apps so you can take steps to make sure you and your family don’t get sick.

Listen to our podcast with Gravely, and download USDA’s free FoodKeeper app for tips on food storage. Check out the Ask Karen app if you have questions about how to keep your food safe all the time. Bon appetit!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cute animal alert! Prepare for disasters with Get Ready’s Ready, Pet, Go! calendar

Looking for emergency preparedness tips? Need some cute animals to brighten up your home or office? Our Get Ready campaign has you covered.

APHA's Ready, Pet, Go! Get Ready Calendar is now available online for free! The 2016 calendar, which showcases pictures from our photo contest, is full of adorable animals and tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.

We received so many amazing animal photos, but ultimately 16 winners made the 2016 calendar. Each month shows a different animal sharing helpful safety advice. Learn how to protect yourself from disease, where to go during a storm or what to include in your emergency supply kit.

Download and print the calendar today! Check out the winning photos in our animal photo gallery and share them with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter with the #GetReadyPetGo hashtag.

And while you’re on our site, browse some of our runners-up photos and vote for your favorite!

Friday, September 11, 2015

APHA is ready for National Preparedness Month!

APHA’s Get Ready emergency preparedness campaign has lots to do and see this September.

Come see us!
Get Ready Day Google+ Hangout on Air
Sept. 15, 2 p.m. EDT
We are featuring an exceptional panel of experts who will speak about climate change and specifically about wildfires, flooding and vector-borne diseases.  Learn how you can prepare and reduce the risk of harm.

City Center Farmer’s Market
Sept. 15, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Come actually see us in person in Washington, D.C., at the City Center farmers market. Say hello and be sure to pick up some of our fantastic freebies!

Climate Changes Health Webinar
Sept. 16, 1 p.m. EDT
Get information about the CDC’s BRACE (Building Resilience Against Climate Effects) framework and hear about Oregon and Vermont communities that are taking steps to prevent the health threats related to climate change.

Share this!

New Get Ready Infographic

Help prepare your family or community for disasters with our free Get Ready preparedness infographics. Easy to print, post and share!

New Fact Sheet — Get the facts on seasonal flu
By knowing the steps to avoid getting sick, we can have a safer flu season — and you and your family can stay healthy.

Coming Soon…Get Ready video
Ready, Pet, Go! Calendar winners announced
Preparedness quiz
New podcast and preparedness Storify

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Hot weather and flooding? Salmonella could be in the forecast

When you think of salmonella risks, food preparation is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But a recent study shows that salmonella is also associated with heat and flooding — and that it could become worse with climate change.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, found that salmonella infections in people rise on hotter and wetter days in coastal Maryland. People living on the coast have more contact with water and are at a greater risk for floods, which can contain harmful bacteria.

The researchers aren’t sure why there is more salmonella in the coastal area. One factor for the increased infections in Maryland may be the state’s link to the poultry industry — the state produces 300 million broiler chickens every year on its Eastern shore. Waste from poultry operations may contaminate nearby water supplies, the researchers said, including wells people depend on for drinking water. Other studies have suggested that warmer days could be leading to changes in eating habits, such as more people eating improperly cooked food from the grill.

Whatever the cause, salmonella infections are something you don’t want. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps. Usually, symptoms last between four and seven days. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which can send you to the hospital.

Luckily, consumers can take steps in their food preparation to help prevent getting sick from the most likely causes of salmonella illness. Some tips:
  • Cook eggs, poultry and ground beef all the way through at a high temperature.
  • Don’t eat raw meat or eggs or drink unpasteurized milk.
  • Wash your hands, utensils and countertops after handling raw meat or eggs.
  • Be extra-careful with food for infants, the elderly and people who are already sick.
  • Wash your hands after handling pets, birds, reptiles or animal feces.
Climate change is expected to cause more heat waves, storms and flooding, so consumers will have to prepare for new risks as well.

Join our Get Ready Day Google+ Hangout on Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. EDT. Our expert speakers will share their perspectives about climate change and speak specifically about wildfires, flooding, and vector-borne diseases.  Learn how you can prepare and reduce the risk of harm.