Thursday, December 28, 2017

Preparedness just got a little more patriotic. Get Ready’s new presidential-themed calendar is here!

Even though 2018 is bringing new beginnings, there’s no harm in reflecting on the past.

APHA’s Get Ready campaign is switching things up this year with its new presidential-themed calendar. Our fun 2018 calendar shares tips for preparing for disasters, right from the mouths of some of America’s most iconic presidents. (Or at least in the words we made up for them to say. It’s all in fun, we promise.)

A state of emergency doesn’t always have to involve politics. Emergencies involve all kinds of disasters and hazards, such as pandemic flu, infectious disease, bad weather, natural disasters and more. That’s why using our “POTUS Prepares” calendar will help you be prepared year-round.

Along with managing your schedule, the calendar will help you keep track of public health-related
events. You can plan ahead for National Public Health Week in the spring, as well as Get Ready Day and APHA’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Expo in the fall.

The calendar even tells you when daylight saving time begins and ends as reminders to update your emergency supplies.

Download and print your calendar today!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wildfire season is getting worse: Our Get Ready Storify report shows how to be ready

Wildfires are becoming a lot more common and dangerous. 

Recent fires in southern California have threatened homes and lives across the region. And fires in the state are expected to keep occurring, thanks to climate change and other factors. Even if you don’t live in California, it’s important to always be prepared for the threat of a wildfire. 

Get Ready’s latest Storify report brings you up to date on this year’s unusually long wildfire season. It also has the information to help be prepared before, during and after a wildfire, from receiving alerts to safely evacuating. 

Photo: Crews set fire back burn to stop a fire in San Diego from advancing westward in October 2007. Photo by Andrea Booher, courtesy FEMA

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Get Ready Mailbag: What’s the deal with seasonal flu?

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: The flu comes along every year. Do I really have to worry about it?

A: Thanks for asking! It seems like every year we hear about the flu. But this year’s flu is not necessarily the same old flu that made everyone sick last year. Flu viruses are always changing, meaning that last year’s vaccination won’t protect you now.

States around the country are already reporting flu cases, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly map shows. This means we’re off to a stronger start to the season than last year. So the short answer is, yes, you should be concerned about the flu.

Here’s why: The flu can be more serious than you think. Aside from some typical symptoms — fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, fatigue and even vomiting and diarrhea — the flu can be deadly. Everyone can get sick but some are at greater risk, including seniors, young children and pregnant women.

More than 560 people have already been hospitalized because of flu this season in the U.S. and five children have died, CDC reports.

The best way to avoid the flu is by getting your flu shot. The flu shot won’t give you the flu, if that’s what you might be worried about. CDC recommends that everyone 6 months or older get a flu shot each year. However, the flu shot isn’t for everyone. If you have an allergy or other condition that might make it unsafe, you should ask your doctor first.

To protect yourself and others around you, it is also a good idea to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes. Wash your hands with soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds.

Find a convenient location to get your flu shot with Healthmap Vaccine Finder. And learn even more about the flu with our Get Ready fact sheet, which is great to share at home, the office or school.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Volcanoes can be scary — and climate change can make them worse

When it comes to climate change, most people have heard about ice caps melting, sea levels rising and changes in everyday weather. But these issues only scratch the surface ― literally — as climate change is also affecting the layers of our planet.

A trail sign stops hikers from continuing along the
path toward the Halema'uma'u Crater in Hawaii
Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.
Photo by Townsend via Flickr/Creative Commons.
A recent study shows that climate change can cause active volcanoes to erupt. Scientists think that these eruptions are caused by changes in sea levels.

People who live near volcanoes ― which in the U.S. are mainly located in Alaska, Hawaii and in the Pacific Northwest ― are most at risk from eruptions. Right now, across the Atlantic Ocean, Mount Agung is spewing clouds of ash over the Indonesian island of Bali, threatening the health of residents and visitors.

When a volcano erupts, hot lava, poisonous gas, ash and debris can seriously harm health. They can also cause other disasters ― such as mudslides, floods, tsunamis and wildfires ― that we might not see coming. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared.

If you live near a volcano, become familiar with your community’s warning systems, evacuation routes and shelter locations now. It’s a good idea to have a battery-operated radio handy so that you can be informed and be ready to act on instructions from emergency officials. Leaving home is tough, but if officials tell you to evacuate, you should always listen to them. You should make a household evacuation plan ahead of time to make the process easier.

Next, make a plan for sheltering in place, which means quickly taking shelter and staying wherever you are. Make sure your plan includes how your family can contact one another and pick a meeting spot in case everyone is split up.

Put together an emergency stockpile with batteries, bottled water, nonperishable food, a manual can opener, a first-aid kit, a flashlight and medications. For a volcano-related emergency, you should also pack goggles, disposable face masks and sturdy shoes to protect yourself.

And if you’re taking a trip, find out if there are volcanoes in the location you’re visiting. Check with your hotel or local officials about warning systems and evacuation plans so you’ll be ready to go when told to.

For more information, check out Get Ready’s fact sheet on preparing for a volcanic eruption.