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Are individuals prepared for a public health crisis?
A survey commissioned by the American Public Health Association (APHA) indicates a low-level of preparedness among Americans for a natural or medical disaster or terrorist attack.
While governments have considerable responsibility for people in such events, officials make the point that individuals must be able to look out for themselves and for their neighbors. APHA provides this assessment as a way for people to begin to consider what steps they must take to be better prepared:
1. Does your household have at least a three-day supply of fresh drinking water (1 gallon per person per day, including water for any pets)?
2. Does your household have at least a three-day supply of nonperishable foods that takes into consideration any special dietary needs, babies, or pets (i.e., canned goods, protein bars, dried cereal, and baby formula)?
3. Do you have an emergency response kit that includes first aid items, a flashlight, batteries, matches, a utility knife, a battery-operated radio, a blanket, latex gloves, and extra clothing?
4. Do you have an emergency supply of over-the-counter and/or prescription medications and medical equipment?
5. Are you aware of the potential hazards in your area (i.e., hurricanes, chemical spills, heavy snowfall)?
5. Has your household established a plan for contacting and reuniting with each other in the event you cannot return home during an emergency?
6. Have you established a specific plan for how you would evacuate from your home?
7. Do you know your community's emergency plan and where to get timely information?
8. Do you have extra cash saved in the event your place of work or bank closes for an extended period of time?
9. Do you have important documents, such as personal identification and medical and financial records, stored in a secured location?
APHA also offers this checklist as a means of individuals and communities being able to focus on what must be done to become better prepared:
More information on the assessment and ways to be better prepared is on-line at http://www.nphw.org.