Ford County Health Department Focuses On Emergency Preparedness

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Emergency Preparedness of Public Health

April is Public Health Month. To celebrate, the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department is focusing on Emergency Preparedness.

Throughout the month of April, individuals may visit the health department offices in Paxton and Watseka and sign up to win one of three emergency preparedness kits to be given away May 1, 2007.

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According to Cathy McEwen, Schools and Community Health Coordinator, the health department is informing the public of the importance of emergency preparation. "The kits we have put together contain supplies that a person or a family would need in case of an emergency event where the person or family would either be confined to their home for an extended period of time or forced to leave their home due to the emergency event," she said. McEwen said the kit is on wheels so if a family needed to leave their home they can just wheel the kit along with them.

Some of the items included in the kit are: bottled water, power bars, a manual can opener, a battery operated radio, batteries, a flashlight, a whistle, a compass, a mylar blanket, a pocket knife, gloves, electrical tape, a first aid kit and raingear. Additionally, there are compartments in the kit to hold important documents, extra sets of keys, extra money, important phone numbers and canned foods.

Mrs. McEwen said everyone should have a kit like this in their home. As a matter of fact, the health department has produced an "Emergency Preparedness Passport" that lists the items needed in preparedness kits. The passport also includes information regarding developing a household disaster plan.

The "Ready Ford Iroquois" passport will be distributed throughout the month to residents in Ford and Iroquois counties. Emergency numbers and a place for family members to put their personal information and location where family members should meet if separated during an emergency event are also included. "Ready Ford Iroquois" passports are available free at both the Paxton and Watseka offices. Mrs. McEwen said the health department is encouraging groups to come in and get the passports. "We want every family to have one. So if you are in a church group, a social group or just have a group of family members that you can distribute them to, we will be happy to provide you with the quantity you need." Mrs. McEwen said that the passport is also available in Spanish.

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