Public health emergencies can come in many forms such as floods, tornadoes, or even through man-made threats such as bio-terrorism. These public health emergencies may occur with little or no warning, which is why Linn County Public Health encourages every resident of Linn County prepare for the worst case scenario.
First, gather emergency supplies to account for the possibility of being without food, water, or electricity for an extended amount of time. A good rule of thumb is to prepare for a scenario where you may be without food or water supply for two weeks. Food should be non-perishable items consisting of various canned goods, dry mixes, and other pantry items. Most importantly is to have an ample supply of clean water for consumption, food preparation, and hygiene. A normal active person needs at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day; however, it is best to store at least 1 gallon per person, per day to account for the various water needs during an emergency. A good rule-of-thumb is to store at least a 3-day supply; however, it is preferable to plan for a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. Remember to take into account the needs of your pets and service animals as well.
Emergency Supply Kit
There may not be time to search for supplies during or after an emergency and stores may not be open to buy the supplies you need. According to the Iowa Department of Health, the kit should include the following supplies:
- Water—at least one gallon per person per day for at least 3 days, stored in a plastic container
- Food—at least a 3-day supply of nonperishable food
- First-Aid Kit
- Prescription Medications
- Battery-powered radio
- Extra Batteries
- Can Opener
- Bedding for each person
- Personal hygiene items
- Dust mask or cotton T-shirt for each person to help filter the air
- A whistle to signal for help
- Waterproof container to store important documents
The second thing to do is develop a communication plan within your family. Many times family members may not be at the same location when an emergency occurs. In these situations, it is important to designate a primary and back-up location to meet. In addition, the family should designated an emergency contact who is located outside of the same neighborhood. In the event of an emergency, this person should be contacted to help coordinate a safe relocation of all family members and assist in communicating pertinent information.
Finally, be informed; including knowing how to shelter-in-place, understanding isolation and quarantine, and know how to cope during a disaster.
For additional information on emergency preparedness for yourself, your family, and your home, visit the following websites: