Get Ready Day - September 16, 2021
Prepare yourself — because September 16 is Get Ready Day. Established in 2006 by the American Public Health Association (APHA), the goal of Get Ready Day is to arm individuals, families, and communities with knowledge that will help them cope with crises such as natural disasters, infectious diseases, and pandemic illnesses.
The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Get Ready Day is on the third Tuesday in September, coinciding with National Preparedness Month. The campaign’s aim is to prepare American citizens and their communities for emergency crisis situations like natural disasters or hazards.
Being equipped with the right tools, having ample stock of food and water, and just overall being ready for worst-case scenarios during emergencies is important for survival. This is exactly what Get Ready Day creates awareness for. COVID-19 is an example of how, in the face of a pandemic, most of us were unprepared, and that being prepared involves having enough supply and resources to make it through months of lockdown or similar situations if necessary.
In December 2019, health officials found that people in Wuhan, China, were getting sick
from a respiratory illness. Scientists determined it was caused by a new — or “novel”
— coronavirus that had not been found before. The disease, which is named COVID-19,
has since been reported in many other countries, including the US.
The United States and global health officials are keeping a close watch on the disease. People should not travel to places where COVID-19 is being transmitted unless it is necessary.
What are the symptoms and how does COVID-19 spread?
- The symptoms of infection with COVID-19 are usually a respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The disease can be fatal.
- COVID-19 can spread from person to person.
- Coronaviruses in general can be spread through the air by coughing and sneezing and through close personal contact, such as shaking hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control
- and Prevention.
- Coronaviruses can also be spread by touching an object or surface with the virus on it and then your eyes, mouth, or nose.
If you travel to an area with an outbreak of COVID-19 — or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the disease — and you develop symptoms, you should talk to your
doctor. But be sure to call ahead before going to their office. Your health team will tell you what steps to take next.
How can I protect myself from COVID-19
The best way to prevent infection from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to it and by getting vaccinated if available to you. Stay away from outbreak areas and people who have been infected. You can also take everyday actions that help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Do not come in close contact with people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
- Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterward.
- Stay home when you are sick.
What are the four phases of emergency preparedness?
Disasters are categorized into four phases: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
Mitigation involves steps to reduce vulnerability to disaster impacts such as injuries and loss of life and property. This might involve changes in local building codes to fortify buildings; revised zoning and land use management; strengthening of public infrastructure, and other efforts to make the community more resilient to a catastrophic event.
Preparedness focuses on understanding how a disaster might impact the community and how education, outreach, and training can build capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster. This may include engaging the business community, pre-disaster strategic planning, and other logistical readiness activities. The disaster preparedness activities guide provides more information on how to better prepare an organization and the business community for a disaster.
Response addresses immediate threats presented by the disaster, including saving lives, meeting humanitarian needs (food, shelter, clothing, public health, and safety), cleanup, damage assessment, and the start of resource distribution. As the response period progresses, focus shifts from dealing with immediate emergency issues to conducting repairs, restoring utilities, establishing operations for public services (including permitting), and finishing the cleanup process.
Recovery is the fourth phase of a disaster and is the restoration of all aspects of the disaster’s impact on a community and the return of the local economy to some sense of normalcy. By this time, the impacted region has achieved a degree of physical, environmental, economic and social stability.
What should a basic emergency supply kit include?
A basic emergency supply kit should include the following recommended items:
- Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Since Spring of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended people include additional items in their kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus or other viruses and the flu.
- Masks (for everyone ages 2 and above), soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes to disinfect surfaces
- Prescription medications
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids, or laxatives
- Prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Cash or traveler's checks
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
- Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
The goal of emergency preparedness is to strengthen the capacity of governments, organizations, institutions, and communities to withstand a disaster or emergency situation.
How to Observe Get Ready Day
Get Ready Day is a great reminder to stock up on the supplies that will prepare you to cope with a crisis. Snag good deals by shopping online for whatever you think you'll need to get through the challenge. Canned foods and other food items with a long shelf life, batteries, flashlights, and face masks are just a few ideas.
To stay prepared, attend a Get Ready Day event in your area and get yourself — and your loved ones — ready to survive any emergency situation that may come your way. You could save a life, maybe even your own!