Disasters happen, prepare now: Galveston County Health District recognizes National Preparedness Month
The harsh reality of hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding is nothing new to Galveston County residents. When faced with a storm, properly preparing is vital when it comes to protecting family and property.
Galveston County Health District (GCHD) encourages families to take advantage of National Preparedness Month – recognized in September – to prepare themselves for a wide variety of disasters they may find themselves facing.
This year’s theme is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”
“The theme this year gets to the heart of preparing for disasters. We have faced our share of storms in Galveston County and we’ve come to expect them, but being prepared can be the difference between life and death,” said Randy Valcin, director of epidemiology and public health emergency preparedness.
Managed and sponsored by the Ready campaign, National Preparedness Month is designed to raise awareness and encourage Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, organizations, businesses and places of worship.
Now is the time to learn life-saving skills such as CPR and first aid.
Put together a disaster kit
From food and water to medicine, cash, batteries, radios and chargers, put together a preparedness kit. Be sure to have enough food and water for each person for at least three days. Plan on one gallon of water per day per person. Include a battery-operated flashlight and radio, manual can opener, as well as first aid, medication and hygiene items. Other supplies may include an extra cell phone battery, matches and a lighter and whistle.
Put it in writing
Planning is the best defense when it comes to preparing for a disaster.
Develop a family emergency communication plan. It is possible family members may become separated from one another during a disaster, especially during the day when adults are at work and children are at school. Make a plan for touching base and getting back together.
When it comes to medicine, put prescriptions, emergency contact information for family and doctors, insurance cards and identification together in a plastic bag. Do the same with photocopies of important documents including birth and marriage certificates, immunization records for children and adults, driver license and other photo IDs and Social Security cards. Have photo documentation of valuables.
If evacuating by car, be sure to include road maps, blankets and pillows, clothes and sturdy shoes, rain gear, books, games and toys. Fill the gas tank and check the spare tire, take cash, checkbooks and credit cards and map out your evacuation route.
Remember your four-legged family
In the hustle of dealing with a natural disaster, pets sometimes fall to the end of the list, or left off until the last minute. Plan for your pets now.
Have copies of vaccination records, a current photo of your pet, an ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, medication, muzzle, collar and leash.
For more information when planning for hurricane season and natural disasters, visit http://www.gchd.org/public-health-services/public-health-preparedness/natural-disasters and www.ready.gov.