You can prepare for a pandemic or other emergency now. You can keep a supply of food and medicines on hand in case you have to stay at home. You can practice good public health measures like covering your mouth when you cough, washing your hands often and well, staying at home when you're sick.
Three actions that you can take to get started:
Make a plan. Choose an out-of-town contact your family members will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Establish a meeting place away from your home should your home be affected or the area evacuated. You may even want to make advance arrangements to stay with a family member or friend in case of an emergency. Be sure to include any pets in these plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them. Find out the school emergency plan for any school-age children in the family.
Assemble a disaster "go-kit". Prepare a disaster go-kit in an easy-to-carry container such as a duffel bag or small plastic trash can. Include "special needs" items for any member of your household (infant formula, etc.), first aid supplies (including prescription medications), a change of clothing for each person, a sleeping bag or bedroll for each person, flashlights, a battery powered radio or television and extra batteries, food, bottled water and tools. Include some cash and copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports and licenses) in your kit.
Be prepared to "shelter-in-place". Shelter-in-place" means to take immediate shelter where you are—at home, work, school or in between—usually for just a few hours. Local authorities may instruct you to "shelter-in-place" if chemical or radiological contaminants are released into the environment.
Excerpted from CDC/American Red Cross Preparedness Today.
For more information
- Family Emergency Preparedness Workbook
Vermont Emergency Management
- Preparedness Today
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Red Cross
- Maintaining a Healthy State of Mind
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Red Cross
U.S. Department of Homeland Security