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Harvard Medical school offers family disaster planning guide

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  • tarnishedsilverheart
    Harvard Medical school offers family disaster planning guide Like millions of others in this country, our thoughts are with the survivors of hurricane Katrina.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2005
      Harvard Medical school offers family disaster planning guide

      Like millions of others in this country, our thoughts are with the
      survivors of hurricane Katrina. We encourage you to contribute to the
      response in whatever way you can. No matter where you live in the
      United States, you are vulnerable to some sort of natural disaster
      such as a blizzard, earthquake, flood, hurricane, or tornado. In
      addition, terrorist attacks on America are also possible. Both natural
      disasters and terrorist attacks can disrupt power, communication, and
      transportation for days or even longer. It is best to be prepared in
      advance so that if a disaster occurs, you know what to do and have the
      supplies you need on hand. Regardless of the type of event, the
      three-step plan created by the editors of Harvad Health Publications
      at Harvard Medical School will help you cope.

      You can download the 2-page plan for free at
      health.harvard.edu/disaster. Readers are also permitted and encouraged
      to share the plan with friends and family.

      Full text below. Preparing for Disaster: 3 Step Plan

      1) Collect disaster supplies

      The devastating hurricane Katrina is graphic evidence of just how
      disruptive natural disasters can be. Those affected are without
      electricity, water, stoves, phone and even shelter. To be prepared,
      collect the following items and store them so that you can find them
      easily in an emergency -- but not so easily that you end up raiding
      and depleting the supplies without realizing it. Some people store
      these items in a section of the basement or a closet that is used
      infrequently. Decide what will work best for you.

      Disaster-supply list

      -- Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day; three-day supply ideal)

      -- Cash (ATM and credit cards may not work or be accepted by businesses)

      -- Cell phone (with nonelectrical charger, such as a car charger or
      AAA battery pack)

      -- Clothing and underwear

      -- Phone numbers of friends and family

      -- Documents (driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc.) in
      a waterproof container

      -- Dust mask (one per person)

      -- Eating utensils (plastic or disposable)

      -- Emergency numbers: local, state, and federal

      -- Financial inventory (a list of bank and investment accounts,
      mortgages, and loans, including account numbers and location of
      original documents)

      -- First-aid kit (see "Your first-aid kit," below)

      -- Flashlight with extra batteries

      -- Food (canned goods and other nonperishable items that don't require
      cooking)

      -- Masking tape, duct tape

      -- Medical information (list of your medications, any chronic
      conditions, and medical history)

      -- Medications (three-day supply of all daily medications)

      -- Paper towels, toilet paper, and sanitary products

      -- Pet supplies and carrier (include food, water, leashes, records of
      shots)

      -- Plastic sheeting

      -- Radio (battery-operated) with extra batteries

      -- Scissors

      -- Sleeping bags or blankets (one per person)

      -- Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.)

      -- Tools (can opener, knife, pliers; a Swiss army knife may suffice)

      -- Trash bags

      Kits for sale

      The American Red Cross sells first-aid kits and emergency preparedness
      kits for home use, and a basic disaster-supply kit especially designed
      for the workplace. Order online at www.redcross.org or obtain through
      your local Red Cross chapter.

      2) Create a portable supply kit

      In case you have to evacuate your home, it is good to put the supplies
      you think you would need the most in a portable container. Some people
      try to fit all of the supplies listed above in a large rolling
      trashcan with a lid or a large rolling cooler. Another option is to
      store the items in several small coolers or boxes. Think about what
      supplies you need, what you can reasonably carry or store in your car,
      and how many people will be available to help you transport the supplies.

      3) Develop and practice an emergency plan

      All the planning in the world won't do much good if you don't practice
      ahead of time. Not only does this enable you to go through your plan
      while you're calm and thinking clearly, but it also enables you to
      fine-tune it before you have to put it into action.

      -- Identify emergency evacuation routes and shelters in your community
      and near your workplace.

      -- Decide where family members should meet if you are separated in an
      emergency.

      -- Identify a backup location to meet at, in case the first location
      is impossible to reach.

      -- Identify a point-person in the family who will serve as the central
      contact to call in case of confusion.

      -- Choose an out-of-state friend or relative to serve as a backup
      contact, in the event that local lines are tied up or out of service.

      -- Provide every member of the family with a cell phone or prepaid
      phone card to make sure they can make a call in an emergency.

      -- Consider family members with special needs while making plans. (For
      example, who will help someone in a wheelchair?) Don't forget your
      pets, either. (For example, where can you leave pets if you have to
      evacuate to a hotel that does not allow them?)

      -- Practice the plan at least once a year.

      When disaster strikes

      -- Listen for official news and instructions on what to do next.

      -- Communicate with family members according to your plan.

      -- If the disaster takes place near your home, follow instructions on
      whether to evacuate.

      -- Check on neighbors, especially those who are elderly or have young
      children.

      -- If you have gas appliances such as a stove or water heater, smell
      for gas leaks. Do not light matches, candles, or turn on electrical
      switches if you smell gas. Open windows and doors and leave the house
      immediately.

      Your first-aid kit

      Minor injuries can be treated at home if you have the right supplies
      on hand. You can purchase most of these items at your local pharmacy
      or supermarket, and then place them in a sealed container to keep them
      clean. A fishing tackle box, for instance, would work well as a
      first-aid kit. Remember to store your first-aid kit in a location you
      can reach quickly in an emergency.

      Wound care
      -- One roll of absorbent cotton
      -- Gauze pads (4 inches square)
      -- Adhesive tape (1 inch and narrower)
      -- Adhesive bandages in various sizes
      -- Butterfly bandages
      -- Wound cleansers (soap, gels, or wipes)

      Medications
      -- Analgesic, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (adult and child) or
      aspirin (for adult use only)
      -- Antihistamine for allergic reactions
      -- Antiseptic ointment or cream (such as bacitracin or triple
      antibiotic ointment)
      -- Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream (1%)
      -- Activated charcoal for inadvertent overdoses
      -- Saline eye drops
      -- Antacid for stomach upset
      -- Antidiarrheal medication
      -- Oral glucose preparation for low blood sugar

      Other supplies
      -- Ace bandages
      -- Cold/hot packs
      -- Cotton swabs
      -- Flashlight
      -- Scissors and safety pins
      -- Surgical gloves (disposable)
      -- Thermometer
      -- Tweezers

      Ed Coburn
      ed_coburn@...
      617-432-4716
      Harvard Medical School
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