Health department recommends being prepared

September 4, 2015 Commentary, Letters to the Editor Print Print
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letter to editorTo the Editor:

In the blink of an eye, disasters can alter a family’s normal routine. Neighborhood streets can be closed because of large debris or downed power lines.

In times like this, it is crucial for a family to have a plan to reunite and meet at a safe location.

In observance of National Preparedness Month this September, the Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages families to create a plan for both adults and children to follow.

OSDH also encourages families to have a basic emergency kit consisting of water, snacks, first-aid kit, flashlight, batteries, prescription medicine and important paperwork.

Add a few simple kid-friendly supplies such as books, games, a favorite toy or comfort item and medical items such as infant/child fever reducer to the kit. Those with babies should consider a three-day supply of formula, diapers, antibacterial wipes, non-perishable baby food and sealable plastic bags for soiled items.

Darrell Eberly, OSDH emergency manager, said those with medical conditions and disabilities should consider any unique needs.

“If you have or care for someone with a disability, or access and functional needs, it’s especially important to include needed supplies, equipment and medications as part of your planning efforts,” said Eberly.

“If evacuating from the home is necessary, it is important to take medication and specialty equipment such as hearing aids, oxygen, a wheelchair, diabetic supplies, food for a special diet, and supplies for a service animal.”

OSDH and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the additional following tips for families preparing for disasters:

  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it’s kept.
  • Practice your plan by quizzing your kids periodically and conduct fire and other emergency drills.
  • Check your emergency supplies throughout the year to replace batteries, food, and water as needed.
  • Plan alternate ways to charge communication and assistive technology devices if there is loss of power.
  • Plan for medication requiring refrigeration.
  • Check with your mobile carrier for options on wireless emergency alerts being delivered to your cell phone or other device.

To access multi-language videos on the subject, visit the OSDH YouTube channel and select the Preparedness playlist.Families may begin preparing for disasters by downloading, printing and completing a family plan by visiting www.ready.gov.

For more tips and information, like the OSDH Emergency Preparedness Response Service page on Facebook.

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