Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a series about preparing for emergencies.
September Emergency Preparedness Month has come to an end and hopefully Champaign Health District has helped each of us to think ahead and plan for a disaster.
Emergency Preparedness kit is ready, family/pet plans is in place, and applied to be a Medical Reserve Corp volunteer. Let’s review one last time this month our basic supplies:
Immunizations current? Reminder: Flu season has started.
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert with extra batteries for both; some also able to charge cell phones
Food that can be eaten without cooking
Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation; also factor in water for your pets
Candles/matches and /or flashlights, whistle to signal for help
Manual can opener
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
First aid kit
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
Put “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) before important phone numbers. This helps emergency worker find the right person to contact
If someone in your home has special needs, call your local fire department and let them know you may need assistance if you are stuck in your home. Special needs population may have additional items for their basic plan. Depending on your needs, your disaster plan may include:
If possible, extra oxygen, insulin, catheters, or other medical supplies you use regularly
A laminated personal communication board, if you might need assistance with being understood or understanding others
Extra batteries for hearing aids
Supplies for your service animal; if you go to a public shelter, it is important to understand by law only service animals must be allowed inside
Battery chargers for motorized wheelchairs or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices
If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a lightweight manual chair available for emergencies. Know the size and weight of your wheelchair, in addition to whether or not it is collapsible, in case it has to be transported
Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs, in case you are unable to describe the situation in an emergency
Dialysis patients, know your emergency food plan, discuss your emergency plan with your dialysis physician/nurse
Contact your Local Emergency Management Office; they may maintain registries for people with disabilities. Be aware that a registry is never a substitute for personal preparedness. Check to see what services exist.
Deaf or hard of hearing, discuss the best ways to alert you in an emergency.
Be prepared for winter
As days start to get cooler it is not too early to consider winter safety. Be prepared to stay safe and healthy in winter:
Winterize your home
Insulate water lines that run along exterior walls
Install weather stripping, insulation, and storm windows
Rock salt or more environmentally safe products melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products
Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts)
Check your heating systems
Inspect and clean fireplaces and chimneys
Have your heating system services professionally checked to make sure that it is clean, working properly and ventilated to the outside
Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) emergencies; install a CO detector to alert you of the presence of the deadly, odorless colorless gas
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
Prepare your car
Sand to improve traction
Chain or rope
Extra hats, socks and mittens
Make sure your exhaust pipe is not plugged with snow.
Hopefully you have thought about being a Medical Reserve Corp volunteers. During times of disaster community volunteers are one of our greatest assets. To learn more on being a volunteer contact Champaign Health District Facebook, website or call 937-484-1675.
Thank you for the feedback on emergency preparedness and your pets during a disaster. One tip I was told since the article two weeks ago on pets is if you live alone and disaster happens when you are not home attach a note to the back of your driver’s license stating you live alone and have a pet at home. Police/first responders check for a driver’s license to identify you. This note will alert them that you have a pet at home for possible rescue.
Interested in learning more about what you can do to prepare? Schedule a subject matter expert to speak at your club or agency by calling Champaign Heath District at 937-484-1675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeanne Bowman is Emergency Preparedness/MRC Coordinator for the Champaign Health District.