Be Prepared: A Guide to Emergency Preparedness

Being prepared for an emergency is essential for your safety and well-being. It means planning ahead and having the resources to survive on your own for several days. Emergency preparedness encompasses disaster planning and response, and it is important for both natural and man-made disasters. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a disaster as a sudden phenomenon of sufficient magnitude to overwhelm the resources of a hospital, region or place that requires external support.

Under this definition, a disaster could be as massive as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or as small as a single patient with an infectious disease. Disasters can be internal or external, and they can be further subdivided into categories such as natural disasters, chemical disasters and bioterrorism. In the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operates as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FEMA provides state and local governments with funding for preparedness programs in the form of non-disaster-related grants to improve the capacity of state and local emergency responders to prevent, respond to and recover from a terrorist incident involving weapons of mass destruction involving chemical, biological, radiological products, nuclear and explosive devices and cyber attacks.

For information about your community's emergency plans and how you can help in the event of a disaster, contact your city or county emergency manager. It is important to be aware of the types of disasters that can occur in your area so that you can be prepared in case one does happen. It is important to have a plan in place so that you know what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure you have the necessary supplies on hand such as food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, etc.

It is also important to stay informed about potential disasters in your area so that you can be prepared if one does occur.

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