Get Ready Now!: Winter 2009 newsletter

Be prepared in the new year!

Happy and healthy New Year from APHA's Get Ready campaign! What better way to kick off 2009 than to make certain you and your loved ones are prepared for an emergency? Take time to review a few helpful reminders: 

* Check your emergency stockpile. Make sure it includes necessary items such as non-perishable, non-expired food; at least a three-day supply of bottled water; and essential medications set aside for each member of your family.

* Review your family plan. Make sure your steps for contacting and reuniting with family or household members in the event you cannot return home during an emergency are up to date.

* Familiarize yourself with your community’s emergency preparedness plan, including evacuation routes, emergency shelters and the location of food banks.

The start of the new year is a perfect time to recommit ourselves to being prepared. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2009!

Get Ready campaign now helps us prepare for all emergencies

Since 2006, the Get Ready campaign has been educating the public on emergency preparedness in the event of a flu pandemic or the emergence of other infectious diseases. While this work will continue, the American Public Health Association has announced that the focus of the Get Ready campaign will expand to include emergency preparedness for all hazards, including bioterrorism and other terrorist attacks, natural disasters and environmental accidents.

Every disaster has unique characteristics, yet the same preparedness techniques can be used in a variety of different situations. These new expanded efforts to address all hazards preparedness will enable people to make safe, appropriate decisions in all types of emergency situations.

High school students: Get set, get prepared and enter to win a $500 scholarship

What can high schoolers do to support preparedness? Lots, actually. How about hosting a preparedness video contest, holding a school food drive or setting out a table with information at your local library or grocery store. Need more ideas? Check out Get Set: An Emergency Preparedness Project Kit, a new action guide for high school students from the Get Ready campaign. More high school students than ever are taking on volunteer and community projects, and preparedness makes a great focus.

High school students can also help get engaged by writing about preparedness, whether posting to a blog, reporting for the school newspaper or penning a letter to the editor of the local paper. And thanks to our Get Ready campaign, writing about preparedness can pay off in a big way: The high school senior who sends us the best original essay on preparedness by April 6 can win a $500 Get Ready Scholarship to help with college costs.

We’ve thrown out the challenge, high school students, and know you are more than qualified to take it up. So now's the time to show us what you can do! For additional details on the scholarship, visit our Web page.

APHA Affiliates get ready!

How do you spread the word about the importance of preparedness across your state? Check out some great ideas from APHA’s affiliated state and regional public health associations.

The Idaho Public Health Association is working with the state department of health and welfare and with the state’s seven district health departments to promote Get Ready campaign messages. The association designed a traveling exhibit booth that the Affiliate displayed at numerous conferences throughout Idaho, which is also made available to health districts and other health organizations to use at meetings or trainings.

And how does IPHA make sure the preparedness message sticks? With peanut butter, of course. As a result of IPHA’s Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks event last year, Albertsons/Sav-on store is organizing an event, co-sponsored by the Central District Health Department, to raise awareness about emergency preparedness. The event will include a booth with displays of Get Ready materials and handouts along with free samples of “pandemic peanut butter sandwiches” with recipe cards available. There will be a raffle for participants. The grand prize winner will receive a stockpile kit donated by Albertsons. IPHA hopes to expand this pilot event to other Albertsons stores across the state during the spring Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stockscampaign.

The Oklahoma Public Health Association is building on their Get Ready campaign activities thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The purpose of the grant was to expand and improve pandemic influenza education awareness among local, rural and business communities. The grant also sought to conduct a pilot project that provides continuity of operations training to a targeted local community and to determine the viability of this method of delivery as a model for training other communities. The project was successful in achieving exceptional community involvement and focused planning efforts. OPHA plans to post a synopsis of this project on their Web site so other communities and municipalities can learn from and replicate this model.

Last year’s floods and tornadoes across Iowa brought unprecedented damage and stress to the state’s public health system, demonstrating the strengths of and opportunities for improving Iowa’s preparedness planning. The Iowa Public Health Association dedicated a special issue of Public Health Matters, the association’s quarterly e-newsletter, as a forum for sharing experiences, challenges and lessons learned by the public health community as it responded. Public health preparedness continues to be at the forefront of issues identified by IPHA members as priorities for advocacy in the upcoming state legislative session. IPHA continues to promote the Get Ready campaign to its members and stakeholders on the IPHA Web site, in Public Health Matters, at the IPHA annual meeting and at the 2008 Iowa Public Health Conference. The IPHA board of directors has also incorporated Get Ready podcasts into its meetings.

News from Washington: Update on pandemic flu funding

On Jan. 16, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released an economic recovery bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009. The $825 billion package contains targeted investments in our nation’s disaster preparedness infrastructure.

The bill includes $900 million in new funding to help the nation prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. Another program funded is the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which supports the development and acquisition of medical countermeasures such as vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for emerging infectious diseases and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents. Finally, this funding supports efforts to improve information technology security at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Congressional leaders are pushing to adopt a bill by the President's Day recess, which begins Feb. 16. The House stimulus bill and report language are available online.

Games coverNew! Get Ready Games Guide now available

Wondering how to get kids excited about being prepared? Check out the new Get Ready Games Guide. It’s full of fun activities and tips to teach kids about the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Hold your own Get Ready carnival. Create and play games like Bingo, Pin the Tissue on Sneezy Sam, Get Ready Bowling and more. Download the guide, and let the games begin!

Take the Get Ready quality improvement survey

The Get Ready campaign wants to hear from you! Please complete a brief survey to help APHA improve the effectiveness of the campaign. Feel free to review the Web site prior to or while you are taking the survey. Your feedback is invaluable! Thank you in advance for your participation.

Contact us

Tell us! Send your comments, questions, suggestions and ideas or call (202) 777-2742.

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