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What You Can Do


Preparedness can begin in your home, religious organization, workplace, school, and community. Previous disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, have taught us many lessons. Applying those lessons may protect our loved ones and communities from future disasters. Here are some tips on how you can begin preparing.

Home

Preparedness and planning should always begin with the home.

Step #1: Develop a plan

Planning always begins with talking with your family about pandemic influenza and why it is important to prepare. Discuss the possible disasters in your area and identify the consequences each disaster, including pandemic influenza, may have on your family, property and community. There are many simple tools that can help guide your planning efforts:

  • Begin with ensuring basic home safety measures

  • Inform the family about pandemic influenza and the risks. Regular updates may be found at:

  • Family Emergency Communication Plan - Upon completing this plan, you will have completed a very simple and, yet, critical step in your family planning. It will provide a tool to:

    • Help reunite families in the event of separation or evacuation.

    • Provide important contact phone numbers for work, schools, religious organizations (churches), etc., in one location.

    • Provide important contact phone numbers for physicians, pharmacists, health insurance providers, and health care providers. This is particularly important for those who have medical conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, etc.) that may require continuity of care in the event of displacement or relocation.

    • Identify an out-of-town family member or friend who may be willing to provide you and your family temporary housing or shelter.

    • Provide important contact information for your homeowners insurance.

    • Provide information for your pet/s by providing the contact information of your veterinarian and/or kennel.

  • Continually update your Family Emergency Communication Plan.

  • Provide alternate ways of communicating with your family in the event cell phone towers are compromised (example, provide phone cards to call from land lines).

  • Be aware of your local community’s and state’s response agencies. For example, find your local health department and note their address and phone number. Be aware of local emergency numbers (fire, police, local hospitals).

  • Account for those in your family that may have special needs. For example, those with disabilities, seniors, young children, those who do not speak English, and pets.

  • Receive updates on state guidance on other elements to your communication plan.

  • Be aware of the sources for up-to-date information and news in your area.

Step #2: Build a Kit

Pandemic influenza may compromise basic services including the availability of food, medications (prescription and non-prescriptions), public transportation, electrical power and communication systems (phones), among many others. In addition, our hospitals, paramedics, and medical and public health teams will be overwhelmed. As a result, it is best to provide your family with items to ensure that your household is self-sufficient for at least several weeks. Items may include:

  • Non-perishable canned goods

  • A can opener

  • Enough bottled water for all family members (1 gallon per person per day)

  • Personal hygiene materials (toilet paper, feminine products, hand sanitizer, soap)

  • Items for those with special needs (elderly, infants/young children, people with disabilities). Some items may include:

    • Infants: infant formula

    • Elderly: extra medical supplies (prescription and non-prescription pharmaceuticals and equipment)

  • First aid kits, taking into account items that some individuals may have an allergic reaction to some items. For example, it is a good idea to include disposable gloves. To avoid potential allergic reaction, it is best to use non-latex gloves. Other items to include:

    • Hand sanitizer

    • Disposable non-mercury based thermometers

    • Respiratory masks

    • Antibiotic ointment

    • Bandages in a variety of sizes

    • Basic over-the-counter medications, taking into account any allergies of family members

  • Whistle

  • Glow sticks to provide a 12-hour light source that does not rely on batteries

  • Include important items for your pet(s) including, but not limited to, veterinarian contact information, food, supplies, ID tags, among other items

It is important that you can prepare kits in different sizes to meet different needs. Customize your family kits to best meet those needs and make sure you revisit your kits to update its contents to avoid expired materials. You can prepare small “go-bags” that can provide a small kit or you can prepare larger kits in case entire families need to shelter in-place for extended periods of time. Store your kits in a safe location that will not be exposed to water in the event of a flood or be protected from contamination.

Step #3: Be Involved and Engage

Continue to revisit your family plan and update as needed. Continue to be informed as new information is made available. And engage in additional preparedness training and activities such as:

Preparedness Equation:

Other helpful Web sites:

Religious Organization (Faith-Based Organization)

The collaboration of faith- and community-based organizations with public health agencies is essential in protecting the public’s health and safety, especially when an influenza pandemic occurs. This checklist provides guidance for religious organizations (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.) and social service agencies that are faith-based organizations in developing and improving influenza pandemic response and preparedness plans. Many of the points suggested here can improve your organization’s ability to protect your community during emergencies in general.

Workplace

Other helpful Web sites:

School

Other helpful Web sites:

Community

Other helpful Web sites:


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