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National Preparedness Month

Preparing for and responding to public health threats such as bioterrorism, pandemics and community trauma is an important role of Public Health. Staff work to develop, maintain and exercise response plans; provide resources and tools to the community, and training to staff and volunteers. By building relationships with community partners, including police, fire, emergency management, faith and community-based organizations, Public Health ensures the safety of the community.

September 15 is National Day of Action. Public Health will be hosting a booth at Bloomington Heritage Days where members of the community can learn basic preparedness information including what essential items are needed for an emergency kit and how to put together a family communication plan.

Week 1: September 1 - 8

Disasters don't plan ahead, but you can!

The quickest and easiest way to prepare for any hazard is to make and practice an emergency plan designed specifically for you and your family. There are many situations where you may find yourself in need of essential items or need to communicate with family members. Having an emergency kit with items you may need on a day-to-day basis and a family communication plan can help minimize the impact of the situation on yourself and loved ones. Practice and update your plans at least once a year.

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

Create a communications plan

  • Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your “family contact.” Other family members can call this person and identify where they are if you get separated.
  • Make sure each member of your family has a hard copy of the communication plan as power is not always a guarantee and cell service may be unavailable.
  • Make sure to include doctor’s office, insurance provider, school, work and veterinarian contact information.
  • For school-age children, check on the emergency plan of the school. You need to know if they will keep children at school until a parent or designated adult can pick them up or send them home on their own. Be sure that the school has updated information about how to reach parents and responsible caregivers to arrange for pickup. Ask what type of authorization the school may require to release a child to someone you designate if you are not able to pick up your child. During times of emergency the school telephones may be overwhelmed with calls.

Create an emergency kit

  • Water: one gallon, per person, per day of bottle water that is safe for drinking, and sanitation. Keep the water in a cool, dark place and change to a fresh supply every six months.
  • Food: keep a 3-5 day, per person (or animal), supply of non-perishable foods. Try to buy pull-top cans so you don’t need additional tools to get into the food otherwise put a can opener in your kit too.
  • Clothes and bedding: have a change of clothes, including footwear per person. Consider various seasons and needs associated with temperatures. If you have glasses, consider keeping an old pair on hand. Have a pillow, blanket and/or sleeping bag.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio and batteries: consider buying a crank-operated or solar-powered radio.
  • Personal hygiene items: soap (powdered is best), toilet paper, diapers, wipes, and a toothbrush, garbage bags, etc. Wipes can be useful for quick sanitation.
  • First Aid Kit and any prescription medications (and how to store them if necessary)
  • Basic tools: screw driver, hammer, scissors and duct tape
  • Chargers for electronics
  • Extra cash/traveler’s checks
  • Copies of essential documents: powers of attorney, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies, life insurance beneficiary designations and a copy of your will

Establish a meeting place

  • Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should you need to evacuate.
  • Include any pets in evacuation plans, since pets are not permitted in shelters and some hotels will not accept them.

Week 2: September 9 - 15

Lifesaving skills

Parenting and coping skills

Public Health nurses provide home visits to families and vulnerable adults. A component of this work involves supporting new parents with the skills necessary to support healthy child development. In addition, individuals and families are assessed for safe living conditions and instructed on how to improve their environment. These skills provide the foundation for resilience and equip families with tools to cope with sudden changes such as a traumatic event.

Immunizations

Public Health nurses provide immunizations for eligible children and adults to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. There are two immunization clinics each month at the Public Health Center the first and third Tuesday, 3:15-5:15 p.m. No appointments needed.

Psychological First Aid

Psychological First Aid (PFA) training teaches how to assist people in the immediate aftermath of small and large scale disaster events. It is geared towards reducing initial distress and fostering short and long-term adaptive functioning. The training is designed to be used by first responders, health care providers, school crisis response teams, faith-based organizations, disaster relief organizations, CERT and the Medical Reserve Corp volunteers. Contact publichealth@bloomingtonmn.gov or 952-563-8900 to learn more.

Community Hands-Only CPR and AED

Public Health offers hands-only CPR and AED courses for any individual looking to learn the basic techniques. This is a free, non-certification course. Contact heartsafe@bloomingtonmn.gov or 952-563-8900 to learn more.

Week 3: September 16 - 22

Rest Assured, you are insured

Public Health is here to be your safety net. Staff are committed to protecting, promoting and improving the health of residents. In an emergency, it is the mission of Public Health to make sure the entire community has the tools and resources necessary to respond to and recover from any public health threat.

Having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to ensure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged. Review your insurance policies and ask your agent/provider questions about your policies or how to submit a claim in the event of a disaster. Work with your provider on any preparedness steps you can take to improve your coverage or lower your bills. Document and insure your property now.

Week 4: September 23 - 29

Emergency fund

Public Health's WIC clinic has plans for providing food vouchers in the event of an emergency. If the Public Health Center is not safe or unable to staff the clinic due to an emergency, Public Health would implement this plan to ensure an uninterrupted supply of vouchers are available to WIC clients.

Saving for an emergency can be a challenge. Residents at all income levels may experience the challenge of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful circumstances, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the process of recovery. Take the time now, before a disaster strikes, to collect and secure these critical records for peace of mind later. Use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to help get organized.

Household identification

  • Photo ID to prove identity of household members
  • Birth certificate to maintain or re-establish contact with family members
  • Social security card to apply for FEMA disaster assistance
  • Military service
  • Pet ID tags

Financial and legal documentation

  • Housing payments to identify financial records and obligations
  • Insurance policies to re-establish financial accounts
  • Sources of income to maintain payments and credit
  • Tax statements to provide contact information for financial and legal providers and apply for FEMA disaster assistance

Medical information

  • Physician information to provide doctors with health information if medical care is needed
  • Copies of health insurance information to ensure existing care continues uninterrupted
  • Immunization records
  • Medications

Rainy day fund

  • Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in a crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.