Are you prepared for emergencies or disasters? The Southwest Public Health District Office has tips to keep you safe.
SOUTHWEST PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICT
1109 North Jackson Street
Albany, Georgia 31701-2022
(229) 430-4599 Fax (229) 430-5143 Emergency 888-430-4590
Sept. 23, 2011 Carolyn Maschke, Public Information Officer
Three steps to help prepare for emergencies at home and in the workplace
During the last days of summer, the United States experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, deadly floods and the 10-year anniversary of those lost during the terror attacks of 9/11 – reminding many people to consider the possibility of Public Health emergencies.
"We may not know when disasters will occur, or what the nature of the disasters will be, but as we have seen, natural and manmade disasters and terrorist events can happen anywhere," said Southwest Health District Emergency Preparedness Director Julie Miller. "In addition, so far, we have been fortunate in avoiding another 1918-type pandemic with a high mortality rate, but we don't know how long our luck will hold."
While some people feel it is impossible to be prepared for unexpected events, Miller said the truth is that taking preparedness actions helps people cope much more effectively with all sorts of disasters when they occur.
"While everyone is different, and no emergency is the same, there are some basic things we can all do to prepare beforehand," she said. "Once those basics are in place, we can build upon them to meet the individual needs of ourselves and those we care about."
"If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water or electricity for some time," Miller said. "By gathering supplies now, you can provide for your family. We recommend a three- to five-day supply of food and suggest storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family."
Work emergencies may result in the need to shelter in place at work, she said, so Public Health officials also suggest businesses and employees have kits on hand there as well.
"Families and businesses alike can weather disasters better by preparing ahead of time and working as a team," Miller said. "They should create a disaster plan that includes a communication plan, incorporates the disaster supplies we have already mentioned and also has an evacuation plan. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility."
Miller also suggested learning what disasters are most likely in your geographic area and preparing for them in particular. "For example, we have a history of flooding and tornadoes in Southwest Health District, while in the Waycross area, residents have been coping with wildfires," she said.
"The final step is to be informed. Listen to trusted media. Sign up for alerts for your area. If you have a smartphone, consider downloading the ready.ga app," she said.
While September is designated as National Preparedness Month, it should be practiced throughout the year, Miller said.
"Disasters can strike any time, any place, and affect anyone," she said. "But it is important to recognize that we can take steps to protect ourselves, our families, our businesses and our communities. Even small precautions can make a big difference."
For more information about Public Health emergency preparedness, call 220-430-1966 or visit www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.