APHA Get Ready Day: How preparation can save lives (including your own)

Today, the APHA is encouraging you to be prepared with their annual Get Ready Day! Across the country, people will be preparing for disasters, and encouraging people to consider how they are ready for any disasters that might happen.

The typical image that comes to mind when people think of getting ready for natural disasters is the “Y2K bunker,” where people have months of canned goods, water jugs, and matches, preparing for an apocalypse where we live in a Walking Dead or Mad Max style wasteland, struggling for survival. These individuals may or may not be sporting a beard and wearing camouflage gear in the middle of suburbia.

APHA Get Ready Logo

But that’s not what we’re talking about (although similar principles apply). A disaster could be anything ranging from a fire, a flood, a terrorist attack, or something more localized such as a storm taking out power in your neighbourhood, or a tree falling down on your house. These sorts of events will happen, and being prepared can help you and your family stay safe throughout.

One of the most obvious, and simplest, things to do is to have an evacuation plan and meeting point set up with your family. Especially when people have multiple stories/floors in a house, or live in an apartment building, it’s very easy to lose everyone. As any parent can attest, this is stressful at the best of times, and in a disaster situation, this can be minimized by having a conversation beforehand. Knowing to meet across the street by the mailbox, or at a neighbours house can help alleviate a lot of stress and uncertainty.

A second important thing is to have a “Get Ready Kit.” This can include whatever is important to you, but (as the APHA says):

“But whatever you pack, into the mix must go the “big six,” which the American Red Cross says are absolutely imperative: bottled water; non-perishable food; a battery-operated or
hand-cranked radio; flashlights (make sure you have extra batteries for both the radio and flashlight); medications, including first aid supplies; and copies of important documents, such as your driver’s license and insurance papers, in a resealable plastic bag” (Source)

I’ll make a point of stressing the medications here. Especially if you require regular medication, you want to have this on hand. If your medication needs refrigeration, make sure you talk to your physician so you know what options you have in the case of an emergency.

The APHA made a calendar of Get Ready Cats! Click the picture to see more!

Another important thing to consider are pets. As you can imagine, pets require special preparation and food, and in the event of a major catastrophe, many shelters will not admit pets. So you will need to have other plans ready for your furry friends.

Now here’s where things get tricky. You need to prepare for the risks in your neighbourhood and your area and possibly your season. For example, if I am putting together a kit, mine is very seasonal. In the Winter, I keep an emergency kit in my car, which includes a snow shovel, a flashlight and a blanket. In the summer however, that same kit isn’t very useful. So use your own judgement when planning for these events.

There are some great resources below that I recommend you take a read of today, and consider how you can be ready for a disaster or any other catastrophe. In addition, you can check here for events happening in your area.

CDC: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/
72 Hours: http://72hours.org/
Ready.gov: http://www.ready.gov/natural-disasters
Get Ready For Flu: http://www.getreadyforflu.org

Ed note: Reprinted with permission of APHA’s Get Ready campaign

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