There are many things in life we can predict — the weather, sports outcomes or stock market trends. However, one thing we can’t predict is when an emergency will occur. Therefore, we must educate and prepare ourselves for the unexpected. While preparing for an emergency or natural disaster may seem impossible, taking the steps to plan for such events can help us deal with all types of hazards more efficiently.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three steps to preparing for all kinds of emergency situations. These three steps include:
1. Prepare an emergency kit — Gather supplies for all types of hazards in order to provide for yourself and your loved ones during an emergency. An all-hazards supply kit should be stored in a waterproof bin and contain:
∫ Water (one gallon per person)
∫ Nonperishable food items (canned meat, dried fruit, peanut butter, etc.)
∫ Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
∫ Extra batteries
∫ First aid supplies
∫ One week supply of medications
∫ Personal hygiene or sanitation items
∫ Copies of personal documents (identification, medication list, proof of address, etc.)
∫ Cell phone and charger
∫ Emergency disaster plan with contact information
∫ Blanket, clothes and sleeping bag
2. Make a plan — Talk with your loved ones prior to an emergency situation and discuss what types of emergencies are most likely to occur in your area, how you will get in contact with one another in the event of an emergency, two different places to meet each other, and an evacuation or escape route from your home. When you and your loved ones have discussed your emergency plan, make sure to practice and review it every year.
The CDC also recommends making an emergency communication plan that lists the address and phone number of your emergency meeting places, as well as the contact information of your loved ones. Contact information may include full name, social security number, date of birth, telephone number, address, planned evacuation location and any important medical information.
3. Be informed — Educate yourself on the most recent information available regarding emergencies. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, follow these basic steps:
∫ Learn what health emergencies may occur in your area (a home fire, a medical emergency, or a hurricane).
∫ Determine how you will get information during a disaster (TV, radio, or weather station).
∫ Learn the difference between weather alerts such as watches or warnings and what you should do during each alert.
∫ Be aware of what health emergencies may take place in areas you travel to and how to respond to them.
∫ Make sure you or someone in your household is trained in CPR and knows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
∫ Make sure everyone in your household knows where the fire extinguisher is kept and how to use it.
∫ Teach children how and when to call 911.
∫ Share what you’ve learned with others to help keep them informed.
By following these steps, you will be better prepared during an emergency situation. If you would like to learn more, attend a special program on ‘Hazardous Events’ presented by Steven Santa Maria, Fulton County Civil Defense Director and Fire Coordinator, on Sept. 26 in Littauer’s Auditorium.
A buffet-style luncheon is set to start at 11:30 for $6, or attendees can go to the presentation only at noon at no charge. To attend, call HealthLink Littauer at (518) 736-1120 or email [email protected]
Alicia DeRuscio, B.S., is a community education assistant at Healthlink Littauer