Just as every home should have a smoke alarm, every home should have an emergency supply kit packed and ready. Some time ago I wrote about creating a GoBag, also called a Bug Out Bag or 72 Hour Bag, with the intention of better educating you the reader on how to prepare for an emergency that (primarily) took you away from home. Adjusted for 2019, things have changed.
Introduce (COVID-19), Coronavirus Disease. “Imported cases of COVID-19 in travelers have been detected in the U.S. Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 also has been seen among close contacts of returned travelers from Wuhan, but at this time, this virus is NOT currently spreading in the community in the United States.” – Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Many other news sources, blogs, and content providers are frightening the public and fear-mongering, Mr. Glitterati aims to educate everyone and share what you really need to know regarding the Coronavirus and how to prepare in the off chance it becomes a pandemic.
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Preparing for an emergency isn’t just the job of emergency management officials, it’s also an individual responsibility. “You should be prepared to take care of yourself and members of your family for the first 72 hours – that’s three days – following a disaster,” said May, who oversees operations for the eight Southeastern states that comprise FEMA Region IV. The Coronavirus is by no means a disaster and should not be classified as such, however, there could be mass disruption upon its initial arrival and spread.
“Packing an emergency preparedness kit helps ensure the safety and comfort of you and your family members at a time when basic public services may be disrupted,” said May.
An emergency preparedness kit needs to include food and water for each member of your family for three days, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight, spare batteries, first aid kit, can opener, local maps, moist towelettes, toilet paper, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation. Other items to consider include paper towels, books, puzzles and games for children and pet food for family pets. Putting together an emergency kit isn’t a costly enterprise. Many of the items needed for your emergency kit are likely already scattered throughout your home.
If the Coronavirus reaches the classification of a pandemic here are steps ensuring you and your family are prepared:
Before a Pandemic
- Store a two week supply of water and food.
- Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home.
- Have any nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins.
- Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other sources and store them, for personal reference. Get help accessing electronic health records.
- Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick, or what will be needed to care for them in your home.
During a Pandemic
Limit the Spread of Germs and Prevent Infection
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and Mr. Glitterati will provide updated information as it becomes available, in addition to updated guidance. Updated March 9th, 2020.
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