Transcript of Get Ready Report podcast, episode 53

This is APHA’s Get Ready Report, coming to you from Washington, D.C.

Megan Vincek: Hi everyone, and welcome to this episode of the Get Ready podcast. My name is Megan and I'm an intern for the American Public Health Association. For this episode, the other interns and I will be helping you learn more about emergency preparedness and be ready for Get Ready Day. So what is Get Ready Day. It is the third Tuesday of September each year. And it is a day to learn about and teach others the importance of emergency preparedness. So this Tuesday, September 20th, celebrate by getting ready and helping others to as well. With that, let's turn it over to the other interns to learn how we can be prepared and celebrate Get Ready Day.

Megan Collins: First, you might be wondering, what is emergency preparedness? Emergency preparedness is the steps taken to get yourself, your family or even your community ready and safe before an emergency or disaster event takes place. There are many different types of emergency or disaster event, including natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, terrorist events, and others. All of these disasters require slightly different emergency preparedness planning. There are many ways to get ready for disaster events and organizations like the American Public Health Association and the American Red Cross offer resources to help you create plans and emergency kits in the event of an emergency. Emergency disaster events can happen anytime and without any warning, but you can be prepared so now it is time to get ready.

Gunnar Laughlin: Climate change has already and will continue to exacerbate the effects of extreme weather events like hurricanes, extreme precipitation and droughts, extreme temperatures and other natural disasters. As the climate crisis progresses, these events will occur more frequently and become more extreme. When these events occur, they can result in severe injury, and, in some cases, death. Carbon emissions, which are one of the most significant contributors to global warming and climate change, can affect the respiratory system often leading to the development of respiratory conditions. It's important to be aware of the public health impacts of climate change and to learn how to prepare for them.

Jennifer Ende: So what can you do to prepare for extreme precipitation events and natural disasters. As climate change continues to threaten our planet, we will see a shift in the conditions of our weather and environment. In just the past decade, we have seen continuous massive flooding in places like Houston, extreme precipitation events in places like Middle Tennessee, and many destructive hurricanes like Hurricane Sandy, Harvey and Maria all across the United States. As these events become more frequent and intense, it is important to stay prepared. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe. Sign up for your community's emergency alert system so you are notified before a big storm hits. Plan and practice an evacuation plan. Build an emergency supply kit that you can take on the go if necessary. Stock up on non-perishable food and bottled water. Plan for at least one gallon per person per day for three days. Store important documents in waterproof containers. Most importantly, never wade, walk or drive in floodwater. Just six inches of fast moving water can knock you down and one foot of fast moving water can wash your car away. Remember, Turn Around Don't Drown.

Anton Aluquin: Similarly to preparing for natural disasters, there are many ways that we can prepare for outbreaks from infectious diseases from the environment. Hi, I'm Anton and I'm going to talk to you about three easy ways to mitigate infectious diseases. So number one, wash your hands. Try to do this before and after touching your nose, face, eyes or mouth and before and after you eat. And remember to use soap and scrub with warm water for at least 20 seconds. Number two, wear a mask. My mask protects both you and me. Masks stop droplets that may have viral particles, protecting others from inhaling your droplets and protecting you from everyone else's droplets. Make sure it is well fitted around your nose and that it covers both your nose and your mouth. And finally get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to prevent you from getting really sick from a disease or sometimes prevented you from getting sick in the first place.

Lauren Bashein: What can you do to prepare for the current monkey pox outbreak? On August 4, the Biden administration declared the monkey pox outbreak a public health emergency as cases are rapidly rising across the US. Men who have sex with men are at greatest risk, but all people who have direct or indirect contact with an infected person have the potential to be exposed. Common symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms and a rash. What can you do to prevent it? Right now, nearly 1.7 million people in the U.S. are eligible for the monkey pox vaccine, as more vaccine doses are rolling in. The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are more likely to get monkeypox. But, as cases are rapidly rising, it is a good idea for all people to get vaccinated to prevent exposure. Consult your health care provider today if you should get vaccinated for monkeypox.

Eeshika Dadheech: So why is it important to be prepared for emergency events? Well, emergency, preparing for these emergency events can help to reduce any fear, anxiety or losses that come with these disasters. As oftentimes emergency events like this can have a psychological toll that can be long lasting. So by preparing for this, we can lessen the fear and also help to save lives as most emergency preparedness can be a matter of life or death. So having a strategy on how to handle the response and recovery really does matter.

Maya Ng-Yu: We were not prepared for the pandemic. But we can learn from our mistakes and be prepared for the next emergency, pandemic or not. It's extremely important to prepare yourself and your family for an emergency such as an earthquake, fire or hurricane. Every disaster entails a different kind of preparedness. Keeping an emergency stockpile or bag is a great way to prepare for any type of evacuation. Make sure to find a sturdy backpack that can fit several items. The five essential items you should include are everyday needs such as a toothbrush, cell phone, charger or glasses. You should also pack important family documents like IDs and bank account records. These paper documents can go in a zip plastic bag to keep them extra safe. Next, you should have a first aid kit. Also pack extra clothes and shoes. And lastly, you should have a gallon of water per person per day, as well as a three day supply of non-perishable food. By packing an emergency bag like this, you're taking the next step towards disaster preparedness for you and your loved ones.

Megan Collins: There you have it. Emergency preparedness is important for each and every one of us in order to be ready for disasters. This year for the Get Ready campaign APHA challenges you to practice your plan and make sure you're prepared for whatever emergency comes your way. You have the power to protect yourself, your family and your community so now's the time to get ready.

Thank you for tuning in to APHA’s Get Ready Report. For more information on APHA’s Get Ready Campaign, visit www.aphagetready.org.

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