2013-05-31 / Community

HHS Secretary Says: Be Prepared

Expect the best, prepare for the worst. It’s never a bad time to be prepared.

According to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, there are a number of important things for everyone to keep in mind ahead of future storms.

In an HHS issued statement, Sebelius advises, “The devastation wrought by the recent powerful tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area is a tragic reminder of the importance of being prepared for severe weather of all kinds.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 25th-June 1st, is a time to emphasize that preparing for these massive storms is vital to every family’s health and well-being.

By preparing now, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the damaging impacts of a storm.

Last fall, many along the East Coast felt the impact of Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest hurricanes in history. The storm affected millions of people, and for some, the devastation will be felt for a lifetime. This season, I urge you to make a plan to stay safe and protect your

Steps you can take to keep you and your family safe include:
 Discuss with your family what you will do if you need to evacuate. Where
will you meet? What will you take with you? How will you check in so that
you’ll know who is okay and who isn’t?
 If you have a pet, make a plan for your pet if you have to evacuate.
 Get backups for things you need every day:
Do you have backup clean drinking water?
Do you have a backup supply of medication and a copy of your current prescription?  If you use electricity to run medical equipment (like a nebulizer, oxygen concentrator or ventilator) or to keep your medication refrigerated, do you
know where to go if the power goes out? Do you know where you can go to
recharge your batteries? Do you know who you will call if you need help getting there?
 Do you have a backup copy of your medical record? You can ask your doctor
to print a copy for you, or save an electronic copy in the cloud or on an external hard drive or enter the information into a smart phone or tablet application.  Make sure you know how to use a backup generator safely. Remember to
keep it outdoors and away from windows to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Talk to your friends and family about your emergency plans. Establish family and friends as your lifelines, and talk about how you could help each other and communicate during and after a hurricane.
 If you know a storm is coming, follow the instructions of your local emergency officials. If they suggest evacuating, get out of harm’s way.
 Make sure to fully charge your cell phone or other mobile devices so you can
communicate after a storm. Plan to text, email, or use social media to let
everyone know you’re okay so phone lines remain open for first responders.

These steps can save your life and keep your loved ones safe. For more information on how to stay safe and protect health in an emergency, please visit:

 www.phe.gov/hurricanes
 http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/
 www.foodsafety.gov/keep/emergency/index.html
 www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/ucm085200.htm
 www.Ready.gov
 http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare

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