Thursday, September 16, 2021

Plan, protect and pack up for Get Ready Day

Get Ready Day is almost here! It’s a great time for you to make sure you’re prepared for an emergency. Every year, Get Ready Day is held on the third Tuesday in September to celebrate National Preparedness Month to help our families and local communities stay safe and healthy. With hurricane season and COVID-19 still going strong, this year's Get Ready Day on Sept. 21 will be packed with the key tools that you, your family and friends need to get through both disasters! 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns communities to prepare for an above-average hurricane season in 2021. While the Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1, it has no signs of slowing down until after Nov. 30. Get Ready has fact sheets in English and Spanish to help you prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters. Use the National Hurricane Center’s interactive map to track the hurricane risks for your area. 

The pandemic means your hurricane prep might look a little different this year. Get Ready has released a new infographic to highlight how to protect yourself and your family during the hurricane season. You can share this infographic so everyone knows how to start the 3 P’s on Get Ready Day:

3 P's to prepare for COVID-19 and hurricane season
Plan: You and your family should plan your safest evacuation route now. If you need to go to a shelter, choose one that isn't overcrowded to reduce the COVID-19 risks. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips for protecting yourself and your community

Protect: Protect yourself and those around you by getting your COVID-19 vaccine (one or two shots, depending on which one you get) before the actual emergency. The vaccine is safe and reduces your risk of getting COVID-19. If you do catch the virus, you are less likely to be very sick. Getting sick during a hurricane is dangerous. Emergency workers and hospitals are harder to reach and busier during and after a disaster. It’s important to take this step for your health and safety. 

Pack: Your go-bag needs a few extra items this year. Grab them before the emergency! Make sure to prepare a stockpile of masks, hand sanitizer, bottled water and other medical supplies for hurricane season.

Now that you have your 3 P’s, celebrate emergency preparedness on Sept. 21! 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Get Ready’s Summer 2021 Infographics

This summer’s heat wave has broken records in many parts of the country. The hot, dry weather can make droughts worse and increase risk of wildfires, especially in western states. Get Ready has created two new infographics to help you prepare for both droughts and wildfires. Make sure to follow @GetReady on Twitter for these infographics and more preparedness tips.


This first infographic is called “6 Ways You Can Help Out in a Drought.” These are just some of the small ways to save water at home. For example, you can take showers in under five minutes. It’s also important to fix leaks in your plumbing. Fixing leaks can save up to 110 gallons of water a month. That’s more than 1,300 gallons every year!

Infographic on preparing for a drought. Tips include take shorter showers, fix leaks, wash only full loads of laundry, water grass in the morning, plant water-friendly plants, and listen for local alerts.
Drought infographic

Your garden and yard also use lots of water. Make sure you water your grass in the early morning or at night when it’s less hot out. Think about switching to plants that use less water and are native to your area

Most importantly, always follow state and local rules on water use in a drought. Check out the drought fact sheet for more info.


This second infographic is titled “Wildfire Safety.” It lets you know how you keep your family safe before and during a wildfire.

How to prepare for wildfires. Tips include check smoke detectors, get local fire alerts, listen for evacuation instructions, know your escape routes, make copies of important documents, have an emergency contact list, and have a go-bag ready.
Wildfire infographic

Make sure all members of your household know the emergency plan and escape routes. Prepare a go-bag with important supplies like medications and masks for the smoke. Also make copies of important documents to take with you if you must evacuate. 

If there’s a fire near you, listen to local officials about how to safely evacuate. Sign up for community fire alerts to stay in the loop if there’s an emergency. Check out our wildfire fact sheet for more detailed tips.

For general tips on getting through the summer heat, check out our heat wave fact sheet.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Guest post: College students: Think you’re immune from COVID-19? Think again

Avalon Aragon is a public health student at the George Washington University who is interning with APHA’s Get Ready campaign. Earlier this year, she was diagnosed with COVID-19. She is sharing her experience with COVID-19 — how she felt, what she did and what she’s learned.  

How did I get COVID-19? To be honest, I’m not sure. I had a normal weekend and did the same things I usually carefully do with my social bubble. The members of my bubble — who agree to follow safety precautions and limit contact with other people — went on walks, did grocery shopping and otherwise safely spent time together. Then the week started. People in my bubble started to feel sick. We all got tested for COVID-19, and most of our group was positive, including me. 

Right away, I felt so many emotions. I was scared, sad, upset, worried and stressed. The local health department called me to do contact tracing. They helped me to talk with everyone I’d recently had contact with. It was hard to tell people I had COVID-19, but I knew it was for the best to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

For the next 10 days, I followed my doctor’s recommendations: I drank lots of fluids, ate balanced meals, got lots of sleep and stayed away from others. I also let my professors and bosses know my situation. Everyone was understanding. They told me to focus on my health and to not worry about work or due dates. I kept a log of my symptoms, which fortunately were mild. With the help of my friends, I was able to get necessities delivered to me so I did not have to leave my apartment. 

Overall, the experience was an emotional one. It was hard to be alone for 10 straight days. I did not have my parents to take care of me. I wasn’t able to see my friends and do things we always do, like our daily walks. I took time to rest and focused on getting better. I’m so grateful I didn’t have severe symptoms and was able to fully recover, as did my friends in my bubble.

Moving forward from COVID-19
I was very fortunate not to become severely ill from COVID-19. A lot of people my age think that they aren’t going to get sick from this, or that they won’t pass it to others. But that’s not true. 
Last summer, people under 30 made up more than 20% of COVID-19 cases, and they were very much giving it to other people around them, including their friends and families. When young adults get COVID-19, they end up hospitalized in intensive care about 20% of the time. Since the pandemic began in the U.S. last year, more than 2,000 people ages 18-29 in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. In light of my own experience, those facts are very sobering to me. It could have been much, much worse.

I know there are many people who haven’t fully recovered from COVID-19 like I did. The long-term effects some people have — including young people — are scary. Wearing a mask and following other health and safety guidelines are important to both end this pandemic and protect those at high risk for severe illness.

Even though I’ve recovered, I continue to follow guidelines to protect myself and others from COVID-19. I wash my hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distance. I’m looking forward to getting vaccinated! Now that COVID-19 vaccines are open to all, I highly recommend that everyone my age get theirs too.

This experience was not an enjoyable one, and I hope other college students continue to take care and remember it’s not just their lives they’re risking. 

Check out these tips for college students from CDC for more information on how to stay safe.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Life after Being Fully Vaccinated

Photo By FG Trade courtesy iStockphoto

If you are able to receive one of the three COVID-19 vaccines that are now available, do it! These vaccines will help protect you and others from getting very sick with COVID-19. When you do get your vaccine some things will change and some things will stay the same.

When are you considered fully vaccinated?

For the two-dose vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose. For the one-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) you are fully vaccinated two weeks after getting just one shot

What will change?

Once you are fully vaccinated you can socialize with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks. You may also gather with unvaccinated people from one other household, as long as those people are not at a high risk for COVID-19. If you are exposed to COVID-19, you will not have to quarantine or get tested unless you show symptoms. You still should not socialize with individuals that are at high risk for COVID-19.   

What will stay the same?

Mask wearing and physical distancing in public areas will remain the same. Continue to avoid large gatherings with people from multiple households. Get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, and stay away from other people until you feel better and get a negative test result. Once you are fully vaccinated, you can travel domestically and continue to follow CDC and airline guidelines.

We are still seeing too many cases of COVID-19 because not everyone is following the best practices we know will help stop the pandemic. That is why it’s so important to continue to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Help protect others and do your part to end this pandemic.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Plan with the pack! New calendar out now

Everything’s better with friends. That’s true for getting prepared for emergencies – and for the animal friends in our new calendar! 

Plan with the Pack! APHA’s 2021 Get Ready Calendar is full of 12 months of colorful photos of critters of all kinds. Every image was selected from more than 100 entries in the Get Ready 2020 photo contest. Each month also includes preparedness tips, so you and your herd can take action to make yourselves healthier and safer in case of emergencies. 

 Download the calendar for free now and share with the whole gang. The calendar is a great resource to find the fun in preparedness, year-round.