Emergencies come in many sizes and shapes. Fires, tornadoes, flooding, civil unrest, car accidents and generally hazardous weather; heat, cold and storms. In central Illinois many of our small communities rely on neighbors and volunteer emergency personnel so the more help you can give yourself with a plan and supplies the less stress there will be on those first responders.
Here are some tips and links to resources to help you be better prepared.
Make a plan. Communicate the plan with your family and maybe even your neighbors. Have supplies on hand to properly execute your plan.
Tip 1: Don’t panic! Acting under extreme stress during an emergency will often make the situation worse. Assess your situation, think your options through and act with purpose.
Tip 2: Pay attention to the critical things first. First aid, shelter, warmth, water and food are all priority during an emergency.
Tip 3: Have at least three days worth of food and water available for each member of your household. Note even long term storage supplies may have expiration dates; be diligent, spoiled food during a time of need is no good at all.
Tip 4: Medications, have spare if possible with the rest of your emergency supplies. Again, be aware of expiration; even on things like aspirin.
Tip 5: Communication is important to know what’s happening all around you. A battery powered or wind up radio with Weather and Emergency stations is ideal. Cellphone coverage may be limited or non existent.
Tip 6: Pets need a plan too. Have supplies on hand to care for your pets in the event access to stores and running water are limited.
Tip 7: Sanitation. This might be one of the last things you’d consider but being clean and having toilet facilities can provide comfort during an otherwise chaotic event. Also, stockpile enough water to wash hands and faces. Soap or hand sanitizer will also help kill germs.
Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment’s notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.
The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities. The MRC network comprises 996 community-based units and over 200,000 volunteers located throughout the United States and its territories.
MRC volunteers include medical and public health professionals, as well as other community members without healthcare backgrounds. MRC units engage these volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks. They frequently contribute to community health activities that promote healthy habits.