Taking the steps for emergency preparedness ensures that when the unexpected happens, you have at least the basics on hand and you can bunker down until things get better.
Being prepared means reducing the immediate negative impact when disaster happens and by having a plan in place, you can connect quicker with family or friends because you’ve planned ahead.
Remember the 5 necessities of survival
Water – Food – Energy – Shelter – Security
Creating a plan on what to do in an emergency is necessary for everyone. Disasters come in so many forms and no one is immune from the expected like: Severe weather, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, earthquake, fire and so on…Have a strategy in place BEFORE something bad happens is key to you and your families comfort and safety.
In addition to accumulating the necessary basics, your plan should also focus on the following.
1.The best way to get to safety (in home and away from it)
2. Methods of communication
3. How to reunite after the disaster
When should you start preparing?
Right now is a good idea. Preparing for an emergency situation begins long before anything happens. Talk to the whole family and mutually agree on the different communication signals that you have in place. Remember that a lot of the times during a crisis situation that phone lines and cell towers go down so you need a back up plan of communication. Pick a family member or friend who doesn’t live in your area to be a contact point for everyone to check in with.
During a disaster the first thing anyone needs or wants is reassurance that everyone is accounted for and safe.
Early preparation should also involve accumulating an emergency preparedness kit that can be quickly grabbed in any situation.
Get a Kit, Make a Plan, & Be Informed
During a public health emergency, access to food, water, daily medications, and other resources may be limited. Individuals, families, businesses, and communities can prepare for all public health emergencies by following a few simple steps. Also, keep in mind that after a disaster in your area family and friends will be concerned with your safety. Keep them informed and let them know you're safe by visiting the American Red Cross Safe and Well website, a site designed to help give your loved one's peace of mind!
Get a kit. You should have a three day supply of:
- Home Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
- FOOD and WATER with ONE GALLON OF WATER PER PERSON PER DAY,
- First aid supplies,
- A flashlight with extra batteries,
- Any prescription medications you or a family member takes daily,
- A battery powered radio.
Get Started Here! - How to build an Emergency Kit
*Note: Customize your kit to meet your family's needs, i.e. diapers, pet food and water, special needs, etc.
Make a Plan. You may not be with your family or loved ones during a public health emergency so:
Decide how you will contact one another,
Decide how you will get back together if separated,
Decide on plans for evacuating, if needed,
Identify an out-of-town contact and make sure everyone can get in touch with that person.
Be Informed. While creating an emergency preparedness kit and making a plan can lessen the impact of an emergency, it is important to learn about the types of emergencies that can occur in your area and to know the emergency plans at your work, your school, and around your community. Don't forget your emergency supply checklist provided by the Bureau of Homeland Security! You can also use an Emergency Go Bag flowchart to help you pack supplies in case of an emergency.
More Information For:
Each of these potential threats could affect you and your community in a variety of forms. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes or flooding, can cause power outages, food shortages, and limit your access to healthcare and medications. In the event of a chemical or radiological disaster, you may need to shelter in place or even evacuate an area. You can learn more about the Idaho-specific public health threats and ways you can prepare for each emergency by clicking on any of the hazards below.
The most likely Public Health Emergencies Idaho could experience are:
In an emergency, natural disaster, or public health incident, volunteers with the right training are invaluable. Volunteers are needed all across Idaho. Whether or not you have medical training, you can become an everyday hero by registering with the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in your area. Volunteer training is free. Join the Medical Reserve Corps by registering at: www.volunteeridaho.org. Volunteer Idaho is even on Facebook!
What is the Medical Reserve Corps?
Formed in 2002, the MRC is a nationwide program comprised of private citizens, medical and public health professionals who sign up to serve as community volunteers during natural disasters, emergencies, and public health incidents.
Why was the MRC created?
In an emergency, the immediate deployment of emergency medical personnel is critical. However, such events can quickly overwhelm hospitals and health systems with individuals urgently in need of care. In addition, it is often difficult in the midst of a disaster to locate qualified volunteers and coordinate large volunteer efforts. The MRC was created to engage volunteers to strengthen public health preparedness, emergency response, and community resilience.
Who can join the MRC?
While doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are a core part of the MRC, the MRC does not limit membership to those in the medical community. Individuals without medical training can fill essential supporting roles. Simply put, any citizen with an interest in helping keep their community prepared for an emergency is qualified to be in the MRC.
What do I need to do if there is an emergency?
In the event of a disaster, you will receive an alert requesting volunteers. You will then have the chance to accept or decline the volunteer request. There is no obligation to participate in an activation.
WHAT IS THE STRATEGIC NATIONAL STOCKPILE (SNS):
In the event of a public health emergency, necessary resources at the state and local level may become quickly depleted. In an attempt to counter this depletion, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) houses large quantities of emergency medical supplies (i.e. antibiotics, antidotes, antitoxins, etc.) in numerous strategic locations throughout the U.S. These locations are designed to provide unique, rapid responses (sometimes as quickly as 12 hours after request) to areas that demonstrated the need for the supplies and requested them from the CDC. Through the collaborative preparedness efforts between the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare and the seven Public Health Districts (PHDs), each community in Idaho is prepared to receive and distribute the medicines and supplies shipped from the SNS.
HOW SNS MEDICATION IS DISTRIBUTED:
If the supplies from the SNS are ever needed in Idaho each PHD will supply its region with access to medication by using Points of Dispensing, or PODs. These PODs have the ability to be set up quickly and require many trained volunteers, but ultimately focus on getting Idahoans the medications or supplies they need as quickly as possible.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY INVOLVING THE SNS?
Medicines given at the PODs are free;
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) and the Idaho PHDs will announce when the PODs will open and will provide details about where the sites will be located throughout the affected area;
Federal, state, and local authorities are working together to ensure that sufficient supplies of SNS medicines will arrive quickly in an emergency and be available for everyone who needs them, and;
During the emergency, stay tuned to TV, radio, newspaper, and IDHW’s website at www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov for important instructions to protect you and your family.You will also be able to call 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine with any questions.
INTERESTED IN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION?
*Information regarding the SNS has been adapted from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website found at http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/stockpile/stockpile.htm*
WHO IS THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & WELFARE PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS TEAM?
Idaho's Preparedness Team is comprised of a state level team and seven different local teams distributed across Idaho's seven Public Health Districts (PHDs). These teams take an all-hazards approach, meaning any and all hazards are planned for and exercised. Each Preparedness Team is dedicated to minimizing paranoia and panic by maximizing PREPAREDNESS. Your Preparedness Team is ready...are you READYidaho?
Idaho Department of Health & Welfare:
- Matt Dudley - Public Health Preparedness Program Manager/ESF 8 Coordinator
- Cheryl Brower, MS - Healthcare Preparedness and Response Program Coordinator
- Denise O'Farrell, MPH - Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Coordinator
- Chris Burgess - Training and Exercise Coordinator
- Levi Claussen, BS - Program Systems Specialist - Automated
- Jodi Matott, - Ebola and Other Special Pathogens Coordinator/Healthcare Preparedness and Response Program Planner
Your Idaho state Preparedness Team can be reached by calling (208) 639-5717!
Need help letting your loved ones know you're safe after a disaster?
Are you struggling or know of someone who is struggling after a disaster?
- DISASTER DISTRESS HELPLINE - Call: 1-800-985-5990 or Text: 'TalkWithUs' to 66746 (Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services)
For a look into the United States Nationwide Preparedness, visit:
- FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Association
- CDC - The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
- ASPR - Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response
- US DHS - U.S. Department of Homeland Security
For more information about Idaho's Preparedness efforts, visit:
- BHS - Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security
- EMS - Idaho Emergency Medical Services
- 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine
For information about Preparedness Training, visit:
- TRAINidaho - Idaho's Learning Management System
- NWCPHP - Northwest Center for Public Health Practice
- ASTHO - Association of State & Territorial Health Officials
- NACCHO - National Association of County & City Health Officials
- READY.gov - Federal Emergency Management Association
- DRC-GROUP - Disaster Resistant Communities Group
Idaho Public Health Districts
As independent agencies, Idaho's seven health districts are primary outlets for public health services. These districts work closely with Health and Welfare and other state and local agencies. Each district has a board of health appointed by county commissioners within that region. The districts are not part of any state agency.
Each district responds to local needs to provide services that may vary from district to district, ranging from community health nursing and home health nursing to environmental health, dental hygiene and nutrition. Many services are provided through contracts with Health and Welfare.