National Preparedness month

Oklahoma State Department of Health, is joining forces with those across the nation and Oklahoma to remind citizens September is national Preparedness Month and also to encourage personal health preparedness in the case an emergency should strike.

According to OSDH, personal health preparedness is “about people having the ability to care for themselves and their family in the immediate hours and days following an emergency or disaster.” Oklahoma, according to OSDH, has witnessed some of these severe weather events, including heavy storms or a tremendous amount of ice, where power outages were a result from circumstances.

Scott Sproat, OSDH Emergency Preparedness and Response Service, said individuals making sure they’re personally ready proves key in the recovery process after a disaster or emergency.

“It’s important for a household to be able to sustain itself for at least 72 hours,” said Sproat. “More resilient households make more resilient communities who are better able to recover after a disaster.”

OSDH recommends basic supplies as well as stores of “non-perishable and ready-to-eat food, water, first aid supplies, flashlights and batteries.” Safety preparedness also comes with ensuring residents have the appropriate amount of prescription medication, and, if necessary, a way to keep said medicine cool.

Darrell Eberly, OSDH Emergency Manager, said putting together a preparedness plan also includes “those with disabilities or special medical needs … plan(ning) ahead for accessible transportation needed for evacuation or to seek medical care.”

“Those who use medical equipment requiring electricity should talk with a health care provider about how to prepare for its usage during a power outage,” said Eberly. “If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information explains the best way to communicate with you. Those who rely on dialysis should discuss with your dialysis provider how to access service if the regular site is inaccessible.”

OSDH also states having personal documentation and files close, like insurance policies and proof of identification in some sort of electronic format, either on a USB flash drive or in a secure cloud-based service.

For more information, visit www.ok.gov/health.

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