Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Download an app and get ready for disasters on the go

These days, it may seem like there’s an app for everything. But can apps save your life during a disaster? Actually, they can.

From storms to floods to wildfires to earthquakes, disasters happen more often than you may think. But with just a few clicks on your smartphone, you can get your own Marauder’s Map for disasters and never be caught off guard.

Apps can tell you if a disaster is looming nearby. They can also tell you what you can do before, during and after it strikes to protect yourself and others from harm.

One of the most important kinds of apps to install on your phone is a local preparedness app. Such apps are usually offered through government emergency management offices, and are available for many cities and areas nationwide. This way, you can keep up with what’s going on right in your area. Go to your app store and search for your community.

Other great apps to install are offered by the American Red Cross. The organization has apps for tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. If you don’t want to install them all, download their all-inclusive emergency app.

Also handy to have on your phone is the Federal Emergency Management Agency App. The app has safety tools and tips covered and offers guidance for over 20 types of weather disasters. You can use it to locate open emergency shelters and share photos to aid first responders. The app is even available in Spanish.

You also won’t want to miss the National Weather Service’s e-tool. While it’s not exactly an app, you can make the site’s mobile home page a thumbnail on your home screen that can work the same way. Just follow the instructions on the website, and get their local weather forecasts anywhere with just a click.

Now you’re ready to be prepared for disasters, wherever you are!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Make a New Year’s promise you can keep this year: Resolve to be ready

“In 2017, I’m going to stop crying during sappy commercials, love myself like Kanye loves himself and catch up on all the resolutions I didn’t do last year.” Do resolutions like these sound familiar to you?

How about this year you just pick one resolution, and make it one that you can keep: Resolve to be ready. It’s easy to be prepared for disasters and you’ll feel really good about having done it.
So without further fanfare, repeat after us:

  • “I will put together a preparedness kit.” Download a checklist and head to the store. Be sure and pick up nonperishable food and water, a radio, flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit
  • “I will make a plan.” Know what to do in different emergency scenarios. Choose a person to contact outside of your local area to communicate through and make sure your whole family has their phone number and email. Practice your evacuation and crisis plans, and don’t forget to make a plan for your pet!
  • “I will be informed.” Learn what emergencies are most likely to happen where you live and be prepared for them. For example, if you live near a fault line, learn what to do in an earthquake. And no matter where you live, learn basic first-aid and CPR. If something happens, you may be able to save the life of someone you care about.
  • “I will install an emergency app on my phone.” Download an emergency app or two. The American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and many local jurisdictions all offer free preparedness and alert resources that you can download with just a few clicks.  

Remember, a lot of familiar things will happen this year: Jennifer Aniston will probably continue not to age and your mom will probably not get the point of Snapchat. But this year, one thing will be new: You are going to be more prepared for disasters!

Learn more about how to prepare with our many free Get Ready fact sheets.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Get ready for cuteness overload! Our new Get Ready Calendar is here

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Time for your new Get Ready Calendar! The latest edition of our annual preparedness calendar is available and it’s loaded with cuteness.

From wagging puppy tails and sleeping kittens to fuzzy goats and furry squirrels, “Awwwwwpocalypse! APHA’s 2017 Get Ready Calendar” is full of squee. This year’s calendar may be our most adorable yet, as the theme is baby animals. That’s right: 12 months of fluffy, big-eyed, sweet-faced baby animals. Awwww.

Photographers submitted hundreds of photos of baby animals in our annual contest. And though we wanted to share them all, we had to narrow it down to just 20 cutetastic pics for the calendar.

But it’s not all fluff: Every image is accompanied by preparedness tips. So you and your family, friends and colleagues can learn how to get ready for disasters each month. Print a copy for your refrigerator, your bulletin board and your cubicle. They even make great stocking stuffers or Hanukkah gifts!

Once you’ve printed your copies, be sure to share the link on social media and on your website, so that others can enjoy yearlong adorableness and get prepared.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Potluck food safety: Don’t bring uninvited germs to your party

Potlucks are great places to hang out with friends and family and eat some great food. But if you don’t follow food safety, they can also be places for trouble. 

Cooking for potlucks or large groups means you need to take extra steps to keep food safe. The large numbers of people, crowded space and buffet-style food set-up can spell a recipe for disaster.

You can get sick when germs are present on the food you eat. This is called food poisoning and can make you feel really sick. Germs can get on food at any point during food handling, cooking or storage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 48 million Americans get food poisoning every year. The risk is highest for young children, seniors and pregnant women.

But there are many ways to keep your next potluck event more yum than yuck.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says food safety begins at the sink. Make sure to wash your hands before making food and always wash fruits and vegetables before use. Use clean counter space, utensils and storage containers for your food. Never re-use cutting boards or knives that have been used with raw meat before washing.

Some dishes make better party guests than others. The Food and Drug Administration says egg-containing dishes like mayonnaise, homemade Caesar salad dressing, chocolate mousse and deviled eggs need extra care. Make sure to keep these dishes in the fridge right until party time. It’s best if you can put out small portions of these foods. That way, you can replace the plate with fresh food from the fridge or cooler throughout the party.

When transporting and serving — avoid the danger zone! Bacteria can quickly multiply in temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees. So keep food above or below these temperatures. To keep foods hot, use warming plates or slow cookers and to keep it cold, use ice. Have small spoons ready for dips or sauces to keep people from dipping food directly in these shared bowls.

Stick to the two-hour rule: Food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours, according to USDA. After two hours, food should be thrown away. If the event is outside and the temperature is over 90 degrees, throw out after one hour. If in doubt, throw it out.

To keep your next event safe, spread the word and dish out this advice to others bringing food to the party!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Spending time with friends and family this season? Get your flu vaccination now

The holidays are almost upon us! That means good times, good cheer and lots of time with friends and family.

While you’re hugging grandma or holding your cousin’s new baby, you don’t want to give them the flu, right? (And you certainly don’t want to catch it from your always-snot-covered nephew.)

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get your flu shot and get it now. It takes about two weeks after your shot for all that awesome flu vaccine protectiveness to kick in, so this is great timing.

In fact, it’s National Influenza Vaccination Week, meaning there’s probably a flu clinic nearby you right now. Or drop by your local pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

This way, you’ll only be spreading joy to the people you care about this season — and not whatever is on your plane tray or door handle. (Speaking of which, don’t forget to wash your hands. A lot.)

Help spread the word about holiday flu preparedness with our super-cute new Get Ready graphic and check out our other holiday images.