Throughout September, CDC and more than 3000 organizations—national, regional, and local governments, as well as private and public organizations—will support emergency preparedness efforts and encourage Americans to take action. For Preparedness Month 2016, the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response plans to release Public Health Matters blog posts, social media messages, a Twitter chat, and graphics. Each week, we will focus our messaging and products on the following unique areas:
Week 1: Prepare globally. Diseases know no borders, which is why we need to work together to stop epidemics quickly and close to the source. Partners around the world are combining efforts to prevent, detect, and quickly respond to public health emergencies of international concern.
Week 2: Prepare to respond. A cornerstone of response, Emergency Operations Centers are where highly trained experts monitor information, prepare for known (and unknown) public health events, and gather to exchange information and make decisions in an emergency. No matter the size of a country’s EOC or the equipment they have available, trained experts who know what to do are the key to responding effectively and saving lives.
Week 3: Prepare locally. In the U.S., state and local health departments play a critical role in keeping people safe from public health threats. As Zika virus spread through the Americas, state and local officials began preparing for Zika virus in the U.S. The response suddenly became local when the first cases of local transmission of Zika virus were reported in a northwest Miami neighborhood.
Week 4: Prepare together. Research shows that close-knit neighborhoods are more resilient during a disaster. We can all volunteer to help our communities prepare and respond before, during, and after an emergency. The first people who respond to an emergency don’t have to wear a uniform or have a vehicle with a siren, but they all share one quality—they want to help others who are in trouble.
Week 5: Prepare yourself. One way you can prepare for emergencies is by having a kit ready to keep your family safe and healthy. It is important to have different types of kits for a variety of emergency situations: a kit for your home if you have to shelter in place, a kit with supplies for your car in case you have to evacuate, and a first aid kit in case someone is injured. If you live in a state or area with the mosquito that spreads Zika virus, you may also want to put together a Zika Prevention Kit that can help prevent mosquito bites.
Also in September, all federal agencies will come together to promote the fall PrepareAthon. The PrepareAthon is a nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and national-level exercises conducted each fall and spring. The month will culminate in the National Day of Action on September 30.
This fall, PrepareAthon messages will focus on specific hazards: winter weather, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, and flooding. For more information, visit www.ready.gov/prepare.