Friday, August 26, 2011

Double threats of earthquakes and hurricane mean it’s time to get ready

If you live on the East Coast this week, then you’ve become acquainted firsthand with Mother Nature’s bad side. With an earthquake on Tuesday and a hurricane threatening East Coast states in recent days, millions of Americans are taking a closer look at their emergency plans and wondering what they need to do. Here’s a quick rundown.
First off: Hurricane Irene. The National Weather Service issued hurricane warnings and watches yesterday for East Coast states stretching from North Carolina to New Jersey. Some areas have started to evacuate.

If you are threatened by a hurricane:
• Evacuate. Don’t put your life or your family in danger. Fill your car with gas at the first report of a possible storm or hurricane. Look up evacuation routes and shelter locations beforehand and be ready to go.
• If you don’t already, have an emergency supply kit ready with flashlights, medications, batteries, a radio, hand sanitizer, toiletries, cell phone charger, among other needs. (PDF)
• Don’t forget food and supplies for your pets. (PDF)
• If you have time, cover your home’s windows and doors with boards or heavy tape.
• Reach out to elderly neighbors to see if they are okay and have a way to evacuate.
• Watch out for flooding. Bring a map in case you have to take an alternate evacuation route.

While the attention now is on Hurricane Irene, earthquakes were the topic of conversation earlier this week, following the 5.8-magnitude earthquake in Virginia on Aug. 23. But it’s not just the East Coast that’s been rumbling. California, Colorado and Peru have had their share of earthquakes as well this week.

For those of you who aren’t used to all this ground shaking, here are a few quick tips:
• If you are near windows, glass or anything that might fall, move away when the shaking starts. If you are in bed when an earthquake occurs, stay there. If you are outside, move away from buildings and streetlights.
• That old advice to take shelter in a doorway is out of date. Emergency officials now advise that you should “duck, cover and hold” during an earthquake. Find something sturdy to hide under, crawl underneath and stay put until the earthquake is over.
• After an earthquake, check for gas leaks and shut off the main valve if you find one.
• Be ready for aftershocks, which often occur in the days after a quake.

For more information, download one of these preparedness fact sheets from APHA’s Get Ready campaign. And remember, you don’t have to wait for an emergency to get ready.

• Hurricanes: English PDF Spanish PDF
• Earthquakes: English PDF Spanish PDF
• Power outages: English PDF Spanish PDF
• Food and water safety during a disaster: English PDF Spanish PDF

Friday, August 19, 2011

Get Ready campaign holding contest for school-based health centers

For many people, back-to-school brings to mind images of new textbooks, supplies and a last-minute dash to finish up summer reading homework.

But here at the Get Ready campaign, we like to think that back-to-school preparedness means a whole lot more, such as being ready for emergencies and disasters. As such, we’re calling on school-based health centers to raise awareness of emergency preparedness among students via our new Get Ready contest.

For this year’s Get Ready Day, which takes place on Sept. 20, we’re inviting all school-based health centers to hold a preparedness event and then tell us what they did. We’ll choose the top three centers with the best events and award prizes of $500, $250 and $100.

Co-sponsored by the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, the contest is open to all U.S. school-based health centers.

Just as there are many ways to get ready for emergencies, there are just as many ways to create a Get Ready Day event at your school-based health center. Here are a few ideas:
• Hang fliers on preparedness inside the health center or around the halls.
• Encourage students to take part in APHA’s Get Ready Day video contest.
• Hold a preparedness information fair and give away fact sheets and other materials from the Get Ready campaign.

For more ideas, check out the contest website, or come up with your own! Events can take place on Get Ready Day or any time during September, which is also National Preparedness Month.

After your event is over, write up a description of what you did, including the goal of the event, who organized it, how many people it reached, what it accomplished and your contact information. Photos and artwork are encouraged! Send us ( your submission by Oct. 10.

And remember: While Get Ready Day is just 24 hours, emergency preparedness is important 365 days of the year!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Students: Get Ready for APHA’s Video Contest.

How would you motivate your family, friends and classmates to get ready for an emergency? APHA’s Get Ready campaign wants students to turn their answers to that question into a short public service video on emergency preparedness. APHA will be awarding $850 in prizes for the best entries in its first Get Ready Video Contest.

The contest, which is open to students in grades six through 12, encourages budding filmmakers to create a video on any of the topics covered by APHA’s Get Ready campaign. For example, videos may address preparing for tornados, earthquakes or other natural disasters. Additional ideas include getting ready for flu or a disease outbreak, assembling an emergency preparedness kit or preparing for an emergency at school.

Video contest submissions will be accepted starting Sept. 1 and end Oct. 14. Videos can be up to a minute long and creativity is encouraged. Make sure to read the complete rules and regulations before you send in your video. All participants must sign a release form.

Even if you aren’t a future Sofia Coppola or Steven Spielberg, you can get involved emergency preparedness in other ways. Consider holding a Get Ready Day event at your school on Sept. 20 as part of National Preparedness Month. Ideas and tips for holding an event are available online now!

Friday, August 05, 2011

National Immunization Awareness Month: No time like the present to get up to date on your vaccinations

Almost no one likes getting a shot, but no one enjoys getting sick either. So as you prepare for school, work or another daily activity, take the time to make sure your day will be a healthy one. There’s no better time than the present.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, the perfect opportunity to make sure that you and your loved ones are protected. To get started, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website to get schedules for when infants, children, adolescents and adults should get recommended immunizations. Then verify if any other vaccines are required by employers, schools or other officials in your state.

CDC has many resources to answer parents’ questions about vaccines and address common immunization myths. If you’re planning any travel abroad, find out which vaccines you’ll need before visiting other countries

Certain vaccines are not for everyone. If you have a health condition, allergy or illness, check to see if a particular shot is right for you. Of course, you should consult your doctor as well. 

If you do not have health insurance or cannot afford a vaccination, look for a federally funded health center in your area. Additionally, certain children may be eligible for free vaccinations through CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program. Learn if your child qualifies, where to get the immunizations and what vaccines are covered.

The spread of disease can depend on how many people are immunized. Getting your immunizations is important to ensure that you and your whole community stay healthy!