Consider emergency preparedness for National Public Health Week from April 8-12

To the Editor:

Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

In honor of National Public Health Week 2014, I would like to stress the importance of emergency preparedness as a year-round family activity through the use of emergency plans and emergency stockpiles.

More than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States each year. To prevent injury and death in emergencies like these, it is critical for families to have a plan of action when the unexpected occurs. This year’s “Resolve to be Ready” campaign focuses on three points when forming an emergency plan: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.

Work together to create your crisis communication plan, designate an emergency meeting place, and hold household emergency drills.

An emergency may leave your household with no access to electricity, refrigeration, clean tap water and/or phone service for days or even weeks. In cases like disease outbreaks, you may be asked to stay at home. Emergency preparedness stockpiles are crucial during times like these.

All Americans should have a minimum three-day supply of food and water stored in their homes, with at least one gallon of water per person per day and a week’s supply of food that doesn’t require refrigeration. Your stockpile should also contain flashlights, a manual can opener, a radio, batteries and copies of important documents. You may also include medical supplies, pet food, contact lens solution or diapers. Use a box or plastic bin that can be tightly closed to protect your stockpile’s contents from humidity or pests, and store it in a cool, dark place that is easily accessible during an emergency.

Remember to check your stockpile once or twice yearly. American Public Health Association’s “Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks” campaign suggests checking your stockpile (and the batteries in your smoke detectors) when you change your clocks for daylight saving time. Discard any expired, leaking or damaged products, and replenish any items that you have borrowed from your stockpile.

Emergencies are unpredictable, but actively preparing for them helps to assure your safety. Be responsible, be safe and be ready.

JENNIFER ANNAND

Hollis

Health Management and Policy Undergraduate program

The University of New Hampshire