New Tool Helps Citizens Prepare For Public Health Emergencies

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 20, 2006

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is providing a public emergency handbook free of charge to citizens that outlines preparedness steps for public health emergencies, state officials announced today.

“Preparing For A Public Health Emergency – What You Need To Know” will be made available through local health departments and other community locations this week, said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director. Federal preparedness dollars paid for the booklets, which have been shipped to local health departments throughout the state.

“It is important to remember that each of type of public health situation is very different and requires a unique response,” Olszewski said. “Just as families in Michigan must prepare for winter storms, tornados and power outages, we want citizens to have appropriate information to prepare them for possible biological, radiological, and other types of public health threats.”

The passport size booklet – created by MDCH’s Office of Public Health Preparedness – contains useful emergency preparedness tips and a fill-in-the-blank area to record personal health information necessary for receiving medical services during an emergency.

Recent emergencies have taught us how important it is for individuals and families to take time to plan and prepare for the unexpected, Olszewski said. “Preparing For A Public Health Emergency – What You Need To Know” – is available through your local health department. Check http://www.malph.org/page.cfm/108/ for your jurisdiction.

The booklet outlines many things individuals can do to be prepared for public health emergencies. Some of the guidance includes:

· Discuss with your family the types of disasters most likely to happen and what each family member should do.

· Your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Plan how you will contact one another.

· Keep some essential supplies on hand for emergencies: drinking water, dry or canned food, a battery-powered radio, first aid supplies, a flashlight and batteries, prescription medication, and special items for babies and family members with special needs.

Other sources of family preparedness information are available at the federal Department of Homeland Security web site - www.ready.gov. Telephone operators are also available to answer preparedness questions are by calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Response Hotline, 800-CDC-INFO, 888-232-6348 (TTY).