Missourians Encouraged To Kick Off New Year Prepared For Emergencies
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) urged residents today to kick off 2008 with a New Year's resolution that could save their lives in the face of a public health emergency. Emergencies can affect anyone at any time, and having a plan in place and supplies available can make all the difference in coping with the situation.
"This is perhaps one of the easier New Year's resolutions to keep, and yet it could be the most important one for you and your family's safety," said Jane Drummond, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "More than 170,000 Missouri households experienced power outages during the recent ice and snowstorms, and this can serve as a reminder why it is so important that every family create a plan and prepare an emergency kit for future emergencies."
Emergencies could include tornadoes, fires, floods, storms, or even terrorist attacks or pandemic influenza. These types of emergencies can leave little time to gather the essentials needed if Missourians must leave their home, and residents might not have enough supplies on hand if they must remain in their home for several days. By assuring that adequate supplies of water, nutritional foods, and essential medications are available, families can maintain their health and well-being throughout an emergency.
The department's Ready in 3 program provides three simple steps to help Missourians prepare for an emergency situation that may occur at home, work or school:
1. Create a plan for you, your family, and your business. Your family might not be together when an emergency happens. That's why it is important to have a plan in place. Talk about how you will reach each other in different situations. Make sure everyone in the family can get to a safe place and find each other in the event of an emergency.
2. Prepare an emergency kit for your home, car and at work. If an emergency happens, you might not be able to get food or water for days or even weeks, and your electricity may not be working. The following items should be part of your emergency kit and kept in a container that can be easily carried:
Water and canned or dried food
Extra batteries for the radio and flashlight
3. Listen for information about what to do and where to go during an actual emergency. City, county, and state officials have developed emergency plans. In the event of an actual emergency, it's important to follow their instructions and advice.
To help get Missourians started, the Ready in 3 Family Safety Guide is available and explains these steps in more detail and provides an emergency kit checklist. Through the Ready in 3 program, residents, schools, faith-based groups, adult care facilities, child care providers, employers and others in local communities can receive tools and resources designed specifically for them on steps they can take to prepare for emergencies of all kinds. The Ready in 3 resources are free and many are available in multiple languages.
The Ready in 3 program is part of ongoing efforts to improve the state's ability to respond to public health emergencies or disasters. "You can play a very important part in getting yourself, your family and your community ready for emergency situations," said Drummond. "By taking the three basic steps in the Ready in 3 program, you will help alleviate stress during emergencies and help the response agencies do their jobs."