PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — State by state, businesses and restaurants are reopening, and governors are lifting stay at home orders. Some experts are concerned about a spike in cases and there’s the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus this fall. As much as we are ready to put this pandemic behind us, what steps should families take and what do we still need on hand for pandemic planning?
Over the past few months, even the mundane, like grocery shopping, has taken on new meaning.
Pittsburgh resident Valerie Eckley shared with Ivanhoe, “I’ve never been one to have like an emergency thing of food or anything like that. But I would probably consider that now, keeping a stash somewhere in our basement.”
Jeff Magill is manager of emergency preparedness at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Western Psychiatric Hospital, and an expert in emergency behavioral health and preparedness. For twenty years, he’s led responses to national and local disasters.
“But in terms of the scope and the magnitude, this one is certainly unprecedented, at least in my lifetime,” expressed Magill.
As the country begins to reopen, Magill suggests families continue to store everything they would need to be self-sufficient for at least three days or more.
“Luckily, we bought a deep freezer and extra refrigerator before all this happened,” recalled Emily Fiore.
For pandemic planning keep stocked up on non-perishable and canned goods. Canned meat, fruits and vegetables, and jars of peanut butter have a two-year shelf life. Restock your bottled water. Take this time to replenish the medicine cabinet and to refill prescription medications. Magill also says now is the time to re-evaluate how you get your information. For updates close to home, call your local municipal center, or go to their website.
“Oftentimes they do allow you to subscribe to a list so you can receive those alerts or emails,” clarified Magill.
Finally, Magill says it’s critical people keep washing their hands and maintain social distancing. To continue to bolster mental health, stay connected, and spend time outdoors.
The official website for the Department of Homeland Security has resources for continued family planning. For COVID-19, and other emergencies. www.ready.gov.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer & Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: LONG RANGE PANDEMIC PLANNING
REPORT: MB #4748
BACKGROUND: Disaster and emergency preparedness has many different definitions and could include any of the following: active shooters, public attacks, avalanches, bioterrorism, chemical emergencies, cybersecurity breaches, droughts, earthquakes, explosions, extreme heat, floods, hazardous materials incidents, home fires, hurricanes, landslides, nuclear explosions, pandemics, power outages, radiological dispersions devices, sever weather, snowstorms and extreme cold, space weather, extreme lightning, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and wildfires. Ready.gov, the website for the Department of Homeland Security, also outlines preparation, plan execution, and disaster recovery plans for all of the aforementioned emergencies.
MAKING A PLAN: When creating a disaster preparedness plan it is important to discuss a lot of practical questions with your family or household members. Questions like, How will I receive emergency alerts? What is my shelter plan? What is our evacuation route? What is our communication plan? Do I need to update my emergency kit? Do I even have an emergency kit? Next, you are going to want to consider the specific needs of your household. Age-specific things like baby formula, diapers, etc. Consider the responsibilities for assisting others that might occur within your household in an emergency, like specific dietary needs or medications, language barriers, cultural and religious needs, and location-based needs. It’s also important to consider the pets or service animals in your house as well and ensure that you have prepared for their needs. Create a family emergency plan to have on hand; it’s easier to follow a plan laid out when calm than to try and remember everything in the midst of a disaster or emergency. Finally, practice your plan, work out the kinks, and double-check that it will work. Pandemic planning.
THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: In this current public health emergency, staying safe is everyone’s responsibility. Specific emergency preparedness efforts during COVID-19 should be put into place by every individual. This includes things like, storing a surplus of food and water, monitoring your prescription medication to ensure a continuous supply, storing nonprescription health supplies such as pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicine, and electrolyte fluids. Get copies and maintain electronic versions of all of your health records for personal reference as well as establish communication with your family members and ensure they will be cared for or will have what is needed in case they get sick. The main point of safety in this emergency, however, is limiting the spread of germs and preventing infection. It is currently still safe to drink tap water, but everyone should be monitoring the CDCs updates on public health guidance. When you are sick, keep a distance from others, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, wash your hands often, and avoid touching your eyes nose, or mouth. It is also good to maintain other good health habits such as sleep, diet, stress management, and exercise to build up resilience. It is also extremely important in the COVID-19 pandemic emergency to ensure every member of your household has a cloth face-covering as well as disinfectants on hand.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
ASHLEY TRENTROCK, PUBLIC RELATIONS
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER
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