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September is National Preparedness Month

Promoting ways to communicate with loved ones in emergency

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539
 
SPOKANE, Wash. – Sept 7, 2012 – Even though it is impossible to predict natural disasters like fires, severe storms and other emergencies, Spokane residents can prepare themselves and their loved ones to survive and cope with these events. Learning which communication options are available during and after a disaster can bring confidence to community members and better help them prepare.

Communication planning is one of Spokane Regional Health District’s key areas of focus in September during National Preparedness Month. Especially as kids head back to school, it is an important time to think about communication with them in an emergency. This can include updating parents’ contact information with the child’s school, double-checking school numbers are programmed into parents’ phones, and making sure kids know how to contact parents during or after a crisis.
 
These important telephone numbers should be included in your family emergency plan, where you can also identify an out-of-town contact for communicating with family members if local lines are at capacity. Share this plan with family, caregivers and friends. Residents should also put together an emergency supply kit, ensuring they can be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. Encourage neighbors to prepare, and be ready to help them in an emergency.
 
Other helpful emergency communication information:
  • Subscribe to Spokane County alert services, which send emergency alerts to phones or emails
  • Read this helpful one-page Be Prepared for Emergencies sheet
  • Know the other resources available in Spokane for preparedness information
Residents can also prepare for some types of disease outbreaks by being up-to-date with their immunizations. Whooping cough continues at high levels in Spokane County; to date in 2012, there are 183 cases locally. All residents are encouraged to get vaccinated against whooping cough. Additionally, the 2012-2013 influenza vaccine is now available and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that people get vaccinated soon, as flu seasons are unpredictable and can begin as early as October.
 
Now in its ninth year, National Preparedness Month is a nationwide effort hosted by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, encouraging households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. Preparedness is a shared responsibility; it takes a whole community. Preparedness information and events will be posted to the Ready Web site.

There are also many smart phone applications available that provide tools for disaster communication and preparedness, just search ‘preparedness’ when downloading applications. The health district will also offer preparedness tips via its social media channels throughout September. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth for more communication advice for during and after a disaster. The health district also has a dedicated preparedness page on its Web site with more helpful information.
 
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October 24, 2014