Friday, August 29, 2008

Celebrate Get Ready Day and spread the preparedness message

How prepared are you and your community for an emergency or disaster? Not very, if you are like most Americans.

That's why Tuesday, Sept. 16, is Get Ready Day. Sponsored by APHA, Get Ready Day is raising awareness about community preparedness.

No matter where you live, there is always a possibility of a public health emergency, from earthquakes and hurricanes to infectious disease or terrorism. Unfortunately, Americans just aren't prepared for a public health crisis, according to a 2007 poll from APHA.

A whopping 87 percent of Americans would not be prepared if a public health crisis such as an infectious disease outbreak or disaster struck their communities the next day, the poll found. While disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have made us all more aware of what could go wrong, only 14 percent of people said they had an adequate emergency supply of water, food and medication.

So what can you do? First, assess how prepared you and your family are (Do you have an emergency plan? A three-day supply of food and water? Where would your family meet during a disaster if they could not go home? How would you leave town if you had to evacuate?) Check out these planning tips and information on emergency stockpiling for help in getting yourself and your family prepared.

Once you are up to date, bring the Get Ready message to your community during Get Ready Day. Need ideas? Here's a few:

* Sponsor a preparedness talk at your local senior center or hold a community meeting. Invite someone from your local health department or American Red Cross to be a speaker.
* Insert preparedness planning materials into your church or religious organization’s bulletin, and post information at your library.
* Work with a local grocery store to promote preparedness and stockpiling to shoppers through displays or fliers. Pass out shopping lists of what people should have to be prepared.

You'll find plenty of helpful free preparedness planning materials on the Get Ready fact sheet page or via the Red Cross. September is also National Preparedness Month, so check out this great information from Uncle Sam as well.

Thanks to your help and Get Ready events held around the country, we'll all be a bit more prepared for the worst!

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