Monday, September 18, 2017

Get Ready Day: A timely opportunity to spread the word about preparedness

Get Ready Day is Sept. 19! How are you using it to promote preparedness?

With hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other emergencies threatening the U.S. in recent weeks, now is the perfect time to raise awareness of preparedness in your community.

Held each year on the third Tuesday in September, APHA's Get Ready Day is timed to coincide with National Preparedness Month. This year’s observance is Sept. 19.

Whether you’re on campus, at work, at home or anywhere else, there are many ways to be part of Get Ready Day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Share information: The Get Ready campaign offers free fact sheets, including emergency preparedness information on hurricanes, heat waves, flu vaccinations and many other timely topics. Use Get Ready Day as a time to learn and share information with others on how to be prepared for any emergency.

Our Get Ready fact sheets are available in English and Spanish and you can even add your organization’s logo. You can post our fact sheets on your website, print them for the office bulletin board or hang them on the fridge at home.

Get Ready information also goes over great on social media. Link to Get Ready information on Facebook and Twitter and use the #GetReadyDay hashtag. For a lighter approach to sharing preparedness information, check out our e-cards page.

• Create a plan: What better time to create a plan for emergencies than Get Ready Day? Work with your family, friends and coworkers to find the best way to be prepared for emergencies. Ask your child’s school or your office HR department about their emergency plans and offer to help if they’re lacking.

• Jump into action: Find ways to make your community better prepared beyond Get Ready Day. Even if there’s no time for you to hold an event now, you can make plans for a later date.

Need ideas? Set up a booth on campus to share materials. Host an after-school community preparedness fair. Work with a local grocery store to promote preparedness and stockpiling to shoppers through displays or fliers. Sponsor a preparedness talk at your local senior center or hold a town hall.

And if you need cool stuff to share at your events, check out the Get Ready Store!

After all, preparedness is a year-round activity!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Are you prepared for flu season? Get vaccinated today!

With fall right around the corner, flu season is about to come into full swing! “What is the flu and how can I avoid it?” you may ask.

The flu is caused by a virus that can make you sick. It can be spread by coughing, sneezing, person-to-person contact and touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue and even vomiting and diarrhea. Without proper prevention and treatment, the flu can be deadly. Everyone can get sick but some are at greater risk, including seniors, young children and pregnant women.

The best way to prevent the flu is to get the seasonal flu vaccine every year. The flu virus is constantly changing. Even if you got vaccinated last year, you may not be protected from the flu this year. Since the flu is most common throughout the fall and winter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu shot before October. Children under 6 months are too young to be vaccinated, so it is important that caregivers receive the vaccine. Also, make sure you talk to your doctor first about getting the shot if you have certain allergies or health conditions.

Overall, the flu vaccine is safe and effective. You will not get the flu from getting the shot, and serious reactions are rare. Not only does the vaccine protect you, it also protects the health of people around you. Fewer people will get sick if more people get vaccinated. Get your flu shot today to avoid sick days in bed and multiple trips to the doctor!

Learn more about the flu with Get Ready’s seasonal flu fact sheet, and find where you can get the flu shot here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Get Ready Mailbag: What’s the deal with Asian tiger mosquitoes?

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you. Have a question you want answered? Send an email to

Q: Mosquitoes where I live are driving me crazy this year, even during the day. Someone said the kind we have are called tiger mosquitoes. Why are they so bad!?

Asian tiger mosquito A: Ugh, we know what you mean. Mosquitoes are the worst, especially when they seem to be all over the place in the summer. And it’s not just those itchy bites you have to worry about. Mosquitoes can spread diseases, like West Nile virus, dengue and Zika.

The mosquito you are thinking of is the Asian tiger mosquito, also known as Aedes albopictus. They are dark, small bugs with white stripes and long legs. They are called “tiger” mosquitoes because of their black and white pattern, but they have nothing to do with actual tigers — other than the fact that they may make you roar in frustration.

Asian tiger mosquitoes came to the U.S. mainland in the 1980s through used tire shipments. Since then, they’ve spread across the U.S. Today, they can be found in more than half of U.S. states.

 The thing that makes Asian tiger mosquitoes so dang annoying is that they love to bite during the day. They like to hang out in the shade and bite any person or animal who comes by.  They are also super-fast biters and can pinch into your skin before you can swat them away. Yikes!

The good news is you can control and avoid them in pretty much the same way you do other mosquitoes. They breed in containers in wet places, so be sure to regularly empty outdoor water sources like flower pots, buckets, garbage cans, pet water bowls, clogged gutters, outdoor toys and birdbaths. Use screens in your doors and windows, and always wear insect repellent and clothing that covers up your skin when outside.

Photo credit

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Do you know how to stay informed and prepared for a disaster?

In our latest Get Ready Report podcast, we talk to preparedness expert Linda Landesman about preparing for the next public health emergency.

With Americans on the West Coast reeling from wildfires and people on the East and Gulf Coasts struggling with hurricanes, Landesman’s advice is especially timely.

Landesman, who teaches a course on public health emergency management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is co-author of “Landesman’s Public Health Management of Disasters: The Practice Guide, Fourth Edition.”

Published by APHA Press, the book shows how disasters over the past few years have shaped emergency preparation and response. It also gives guidance on how best to handle new challenges.

So basically, when it comes to preparedness, Landesman knows her stuff. The Get Ready team talked to her about lessons learned from past disasters, the next possible pandemic and the importance of resilience, a concept that is growing in popularity.

“There’s a national push for communities to develop resilience,” Landesman says. “Communities and individuals who are resilient are better prepared when they plan for the potential impacts that they can anticipate, instead of just planning to respond to whatever may happen.”

Listen to the podcast now, or read the transcript.