Friday, November 30, 2018

Los Angeles prepared for disaster by building resilience. Your community can too.

From wildfires and earthquakes to storms and floods, Los Angeles is no stranger to disaster. In fact, the region is at risk for 13 of 16 possible federally identified natural and human-caused threats. To help the community better prepare for and rebound from an emergency, officials developed a plan to strengthen its resilience.

The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project connected the county’s disaster plans with the community. It identified the needs of the residents and the resources available in the community. It also considered the needs of residents who are most at risk, and helped community members learn to work together in the event of an emergency.

The project, led by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, first focused on developing relationships with local hospitals, health clinics, faith-based groups, businesses and other organizations. These partnerships helped spread the message of preparedness to community members.

Officials then looked at educating residents to make sure people in the area know what to do in case of an emergency. Some information was distributed by staff but more tools were available online. 

And, finally, the project focused on hands-on activities. For example, leaders developed toolkits tailored to each region in the county. The toolkits contained a range of resources including information on how to build resilience by creating community coalitions, role-playing exercises to facilitate conversations about resilience among community members, quizzes that test a community’s readiness, mapping exercises to locate resilience resources and surveys to help identify community needs.

If Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S., can become more resilient in the face of an emergency, your community can too.

For starters, learn what disasters your county is prone to. The Washington Post mapped out eight of the largest disaster categories according to which area of the country they affect the most.

APHA’s Get Ready fact sheets can help educate your residents, campus or workplace about preparing for emergencies. They work well as tools to help plan your own community disaster resilience project.

But don’t wait for an emergency to strike. Follow the script from L.A. and help your community become more resilient now!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cooking for the clan this week? Watch out for fires!

Roasted turkey with cranberry sauce and stuffing on the side are many people’s Thanksgiving favorites, but it can be tricky getting all that food together safely. With all the hubbub, Thanksgiving sometimes brings an unwanted guest: fire.

Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. In 2015 alone, fire departments across the country recorded a total of about 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.

To keep your meal from going up in flames, brush up on these quick tips.

Before you start cooking, take some time to test the batteries in your smoke detector. Check that your fire extinguisher hasn’t expired and is in an easy-to-reach location.

Before using the stove, clean off residual grease and tuck in any loose clothing you’re wearing. Keep any kitchen items that can catch fire — like paper towels, plastic bags or cookbooks — away from the stove. Be sure to use a flame-resistant mitt when reaching to get the food you worked so hard to cook out of the oven.

With all the commotion of guests arriving, it’s easy to get distracted, but you should never leave your stove unattended. Something could quickly spark while you are away. Keep an eye on the kiddos and tell them not to play near the stove.

There’s an even higher risk for fire if you’re frying your turkey. If you choose this method, make sure your turkey is completely thawed ahead of time. Don’t overfill the fryer and never ever leave it unattended. If you see oil begin to smoke, turn off the gas supply immediately.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe cooking!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

5 ways to be more prepared from Get Ready

You can never be too prepared. And thanks to five new fact sheets, APHA’s Get Ready campaign can help you, your family and community be even more ready for the worst.

Check out these awesome new resources, online now:
• Our new fact sheet on “go-bags” will help you learn why you need them and what to pack inside. You’ll also learn why it’s important to keep your emergency go-bags up to date.
• In the case of a sudden disaster, help may not come right away. Our new general preparedness fact sheet has information on what you need to know to be prepared for many different types of disasters.
• A few days of no rain isn’t so bad. But sometimes droughts are so severe that they turn into an emergency. Learn how to prepare for a drought and what to do when one is happening in your community.
• You can get your family involved in preparedness too. Our stockpiling with kids fact sheet shows easy ways children can help gather emergency supplies and make them feel ready for disasters.
• If you had to drop everything and evacuate right now, would you be ready? Our  new evacuation fact sheet helps you plan where to go, what to bring and how to prepare.

Get Ready fact sheets are perfect for sharing on campus, at the office, in the community or at home. There’s even space to add your logo.

For the full lineup of fact sheets from Get Ready, including Spanish-language versions, check out our website.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Think winter storms are bad now? Wait’ll you hear about the Great Blizzard of 1888

If you live somewhere like New York or Michigan, you may think you know everything about winter storms. But do you remember the big one that happened back in ’88? No, not 1988. We’re talking 1888.

The Great Blizzard of 1888 was one of the biggest and deadliest winter storms in U.S. history. Powerful blizzards and hurricane-level winds tore through the East Coast in March, piling as much as 50 inches of snow over streets, offices and homes. Transportation came to a halt, leaving thousands of people stranded in the cold and stopping deliveries of fresh food and coal that was used to heat homes. The storm killed more than 400 people, some of whom froze to death on their way home from work.

Major winter storms aren’t a thing of the past. In fact, they’ve become more frequent and intense in recent decades. Some states that usually don’t get very cold have been caught off guard by wintry weather. In January 2017, a blizzard dumped up to eight inches of snow in states such as Alabama and Georgia.

Part of the reason the Great Blizzard was so deadly was that weather forecasting wasn’t all that great during this time. People had no warnings and no time to stock up on food and fuel. Thankfully, with today’s thermometers, barometers, anemometers and a variety of other -ometers, we can predict and prepare for winter weather in advance. This winter is expected to get really cold in many parts of the U.S. around January or February, for example.   

So how should you get ready for a winter storm? For starters, assemble an emergency supply kit. In case the power goes out, make sure you have extra blankets, coats and a battery- or solar-operated cellphone charger. Prepare your home by making sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector. Learn more about getting ready for winter storms with our fact sheet.

Photo credit:
Photo of Great Blizzard in New York City, March 12, 1888. Courtesy NOAA Photo Library, National Weather Service Collection.