Monday, July 16, 2012

July is Bioterrorism, Disaster Education and Awareness Month

Imagine you are sitting at home with your family and you hear an earth-shattering boom come from outside. You and your family jump up in alarm wondering what is going on outside. Whether it is a biological attack or a natural disaster, as Americans we hope we never have to deal with bioterrorism. In this week’s blog, we would like to share some tips on how to be prepared in the event that bioterrorism or a natural disaster happens near you.

WHAT IS BIOTERRORISM?

Bioterrorism covers many types of terroristic events including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (also known as CBRNE). Some examples of CBRNE events include chemical spills, an incident occurring at a nuclear power plant, an explosion, an aerosolized biological agent or even just a naturally occurring disease outbreak started intentionally. But many of these disastrous events can also involve factors out of our control such as Mother Nature. There might be torrential downpours of rain and fierce winds of a hurricane or there might be out-of-control wildfires (think of Hurricane Katrina or the recent Tsunami). Regardless of what the disaster might be that you could potentially be facing, there is one key element to all of these disasters- and that is being prepared to handle them if they happen to you.
Natural and human-caused disasters can occur at anytime and anywhere. The Red Cross encourages three simple steps to be prepared: Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed.
An emergency preparedness kit should include items that you could utilize at home or that you could take with you in case of an evacuation. Some important items to include would be:
·         Water
·         Food
·         Flashlight
·         Medications
·         A multipurpose tool
The next step involves preparing a plan. When preparing a plan, it is helpful to identify responsibilities for each member of the household and plan to work together as a team to get the plan done as efficiently as possible. When emergencies happen, time is of the essence! Lastly, one of the most important parts of a disaster plan is making sure you stay informed about the situation. Make sure you know in advance how local authorities will notify the public with pertinent information during the disaster and how you will get this information, whether it is through the television, radio or internet.  With these tools in place, you can guarantee you will be more prepared for a disaster if one were to strike close to your home. Remember: Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed!

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