Tools to Help Your Community Prepare for Disasters

The following information is provided by the American Public Health Association:

How prepared are you and your community for an emergency or disaster? According to a 2007 poll from APHA, most Americans are not prepared for a public health crisis. That’s why APHA is raising awareness about community preparedness during National Preparedness Month in September.

No matter where you live, there is always a possibility of a public health emergency, from earthquakes and hurricanes to infectious disease or terrorism. So what can you do? First, assess how prepared you and your family are: Do you have an emergency plan? A three-day supply of food and water? Where would your family meet during a disaster if they could not go home? How would you leave town if you had to evacuate? Check out these planning tips and information on emergency stockpiling for help in getting yourself and your family prepared.

Once you are up to date, bring the Get Ready message to your community during National Preparedness Month. Here are a few ideas:

* Sponsor a preparedness talk at your local senior center or hold a community meeting. Invite someone from your local health department or American Red Cross to be a speaker.
* Insert preparedness planning materials into your church or religious organization’s bulletin, and post information at your library.
* Work with a local grocery store to promote preparedness and stockpiling to shoppers through displays or fliers. Pass out shopping lists of what people should have to be prepared.

Thanks to your help and Get Ready events held around the country, we’ll all be better prepared!

APHA has provided additional preparedness Public Service Announcements for use during National Preparedness Month. Click any of the following titles to view the PSAs.

? September is National Preparedness Month
? “Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks” Coming up Nov. 2
? Habla Espanol? “Get Ready” Helping Handouts Available in Spanish
? Don’t Forget to Get Your Annual Flu Shot!

If you are attending APHA’s Annual Meeting, Oct. 25-29, in San Diego be sure to check out the following sessions:

Town Hall Breakfast: Pandemic Flu and Community Resilience – Tuesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 a.m.
This fast-moving, facilitated session will examine important questions on pandemic flu, including:

* What has the public health sector learned about the pandemic influenza challenge?
* What inroads and innovations can we point to in terms of community pandemic planning?
* What insights have emerged regarding empowering individuals and families to prepare for pandemic conditions?
* What strategies are available to prepare vulnerable populations for a potential pandemic?
* In broad strokes, what should the priorities be in fashioning a more realistic policy agenda for national pandemic preparedness?

Spanning Borders: Thinking Globally About Animal and Human Health – Monday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m.
This session will discuss the convergence of human and animal health and the implications for public health today and tomorrow.

* The presentation will introduce the concept of “One Health” and discuss how this construct and mindset will be necessary to address the new threats to our health now being generated by the convergence.
* A land grant university will share a comprehensive distillation of current science as well as on-the-ground experience in taking the concept to third world situations.
* A major public health school in the United States will share its experience working with the 1890 land grand extension programs to reach minority populations throughout the South.
* A state public health association will discuss both national efforts as well as its own efforts to reach out to citizens and policy-makers to disseminate preparedness messages for emerging infectious diseases.

Lessons Learned: Perspectives from Community, Agency and Academic Partners in Promoting Preparedness in Underserved and Disenfranchised Communities – Tuesday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m.
While the threat of a new and emerging disease pandemic affects us all, communities in the United States that are underserved and disenfranchised face an increased risk due to social, economic and health factors. In this regard, disparities for these populations can result in differential preparedness for public health emergencies.

To address this concern, the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health and the Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities are working in partnership with the Cooperative Extension Programs of 1890 Land-grant Institutions to Mobilize Against Threats to Community Health. Come to this session to hear about lessons learned in this project, including the importance of designing a program with the flexibility of meeting both partnering institutions and community members where they are in the preparedness process.

Visit the Get Ready Booth at the APHA Annual Meeting
Come visit the Get Ready Booth in the Public Health Expo at the 136th APHA Annual Meeting in San Diego. There will be educational materials in English and Spanish and fun giveaways. Come check us out at booth 2130, close to the Everything APHA exhibit area.

Tell us! Send your comments, questions, suggestions and ideas to  or call (202) 777-2742.

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