Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Get Ready Now!: Spring 2009 issue
Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks coming up March 8
As we gear up for spring, the winter storms that left many communities without power serve as a reminder that emergency situations can occur without warning. It’s time to spring forward on March 8! Daylight saving time is the perfect opportunity for you to check your preparedness kit to make sure your emergency stockpile isn’t missing any items and that the food hasn’t expired. APHA’s Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign is back to remind people to refresh their emergency supplies before a disease outbreak or disaster occurs. If you haven’t created a stockpile yet, why wait any longer? It’s time to take action this March.
Be sure that you have at least a three-day supply of bottled water, nonperishable foods and essential medications set aside for each member of your family. And as always, don’t forget to check the batteries in your smoke alarms. This is also a perfect time to re-familiarize yourself with your community’s emergency preparedness plan, including evacuation routes, emergency shelters and the location of food banks.
This season, APHA kicks off its Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stockscampaign with the release of new online materials aimed at helping Americans become better prepared. Two new fact sheets provide tips on how to keep pets safe in an emergency and how to create and maintain a stockpile on a budget.
News from Washington, D.C.: Update on emergency preparedness funding
On Feb. 23, the U.S. House of Representatives released the details of the fiscal year 2009 omnibus appropriations bill that would fund most of the programs and agencies of the federal government, including all federal health programs, through the end of September. The bill provides $788 million for emergency preparedness and response activities and $585 million specifically for pandemic influenza preparedness. It also provides $35 million for terrorism preparedness and response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government is currently operating on a continuing resolution that funds programs and agencies at fiscal year 2008 levels through March 6.
Unfortunately, funding for pandemic flu and emergency preparedness was removed from the stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed into law on Feb. 17. However, the law includes a variety of provisions to bolster our nation’s emergency preparedness through new funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, research into the effects of climate change on natural disasters and improvements to our flood control infrastructure.
High school students: Get set, get prepared and enter to win a $500 scholarship
APHA is now accepting applications for the first-ever Get Ready Scholarship. The high school senior who sends us the best original essay on preparedness by April 6 can win a $500 Get Ready Scholarship to help with college costs.
While you are on our scholarship page, check out Get Set: An Emergency Preparedness Project Kit, a new action guide for high school students from the Get Ready campaign.
A pandemic is a global infectious outbreak of a known or new emerging disease. A flu pandemic can occur when a new influenza A virus, like H5N1, emerges for which humans have little or no immunity and that is easily passed from person to person. The viruses can cause serious illness or death. Such an event may overwhelm hospitals and health centers around the world. A pandemic could also result in the closings of schools and businesses and other life disruptions.
The exact symptoms of pandemic flu are unknown. In previous pandemics, young healthy people carried a higher risk for serious complications.
PREVENTING PANDEMIC FLU:
A vaccine would probably be unavailable in the early stages of a pandemic. A pandemic would be triggered by three conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- A new flu virus subtype must emerge for which humans have little or no immunity;
- The virus must infect humans and cause illness; and
- The virus must spread easily and continuously among humans.
Experts believe that an influenza pandemic will occur in the future, but the next pandemic cannot be accurately predicted. In the 20th century, three flu pandemics occurred – in 1918-19, 1957-58 and 1968-69. It is estimated that the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more than 20 million people worldwide. Scientists cannot predict whether the avian flu (H5N1) virus will cause the next pandemic.
For further information, visit www.pandemicflu.gov.