Public Health Emergency Preparedness Month September 2021
The health and safety of everyone in Klamath County is the cornerstone of Public Health’s work. Each September the CDC provides information on how to “prepare your health” in the event of an emergency situation.
KCPH is not alone in promoting the health and safety of our community. Our sister Klamath County agency Emergency Management draws its Emergency Preparedness Month information from FEMA. Together, the community is stronger and better prepared should an emergency occur.
This year, CDC has focused on removing barriers and building community as means to prepare for the unexpected.
In addition to CDC.gov, other helpful websites are Ready.gov, FEMA.gov and DHS.gov.
Bring down barriers
Involve the entire community
Members of racial and ethnic minority groups and people with disabilities may be disproportionately affected by an emergency. Involve these communities in the emergency planning process to identify how to bring down barriers. See more: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/emergencypreparedness.html
Did you know two in five adults 65 years and older living in rural communities have a disability? People with disabilities in rural areas may have trouble during an emergency, especially if evacuation is needed.
Many racial and ethnic minority groups may face barriers. Health equity occurs when everyone can be as healthy as possible, including access to COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/healthequity/index.html
People with disabilities can experience loneliness and isolation more than people without disabilities. Social connectedness can affect a person’s ability to stay healthy during an emergency. Find ways to stay connected: https://www.cdc.gov/prepyourhealth/planahead/stayconnected/index.htm
Get support when needed
It is natural to experience difficult and strong emotions during and after an emergency. Some people may need professional help to cope with these feelings. Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame, cause you to isolate from others, or prevent you from getting help. Get the help you need, by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a @distressline counselor.
Build a network
Get involved with family, friends, and neighbors who need help preparing for and responding to emergencies. Help them form a personal support network of people who understand their personal needs and are willing and able to help in an emergency. This network can consist of family members, friends, caregivers, and neighbors. Learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uijKKb2-als
Millions of people in the U.S. don’t regularly or are unable to leave their homes. Help friends, family, and neighbors who can’t leave their homes prepare for emergencies. Offer to run essential errands for them. More: https://www.cdc.gov/prepyourhealth/createcommunity/careforeachother/tips.htm
Assess your situation
Being prepared includes performing a self-assessment, being honest about your limitations, and—if necessary —giving yourself more time to evacuate before an emergency. If you are unable to evacuate on your own because of medical or special transportation needs, evacuation assistance is available in some places. Contact your local fire department or emergency management office to learn more about evacuation assistance where you live.
Transportation is a big deal
Some people may not own or have access to a personal vehicle during an evacuation. Plan ahead for an evacuation if you rely on public transportation, paratransit, or ridesharing to get around. Identify some ways to get to safety in case of an emergency:
- Plan to carpool with neighbors.
- Look into city-assisted evacuation if you have medical or special transportation needs.
- Call your local non-emergency police phone number for more information on services in your area.
Connect with (from a distance) older family and friends often. They may be feeling lonely, anxious, or stressed. Phone calls and video chats can help you and your loved ones feel socially connected and less lonely or isolated. Learn more: https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2020/05/older-adults/
Practice self-care to help you cope with everyday stress and prepare for stressful situations. Learning how to cope with stress in healthy ways can make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/dealing-with-stress/index.html
Make sure you and your children stay up to date on vaccines for infections and illnesses, such as seasonal flu, to help protect the health of your community. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/reasons-to-vaccinate.html
Parents: Learn ways to help children cope with the trauma of an emergency. You can be better prepared to reassure kids, if you know what to look for and how to help. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/childrenindisasters/helping-children-cope.html