“Prepare Your Health” This September

September is National Preparedness Month. North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) is teaming up with local and national agencies to spread advice on how to #PrepYourHealth by being prepared for a variety of potential disasters and public health emergencies. The State of North Dakota is committed to ensuring the safety, security and resiliency of its communities and those who visit.

North Dakotans know from experience that taking steps to prepare can help individuals, families and communities to respond more efficiently and safely during an emergency. While disaster preparedness information is available and promoted throughout the year, this month is designated to highlight the importance of early planning – because when a disaster strikes, it is too late to begin preparations.

The theme for National Preparedness Month for 2022 is “Prepare Your Health,” encouraging the public to think about three main categories as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Take Action
  • Plan Ahead
  • Create Community

Take Action

Be prepared to protect your family’s health and well-being until help arrives. Taking action is about improving your capability to protect your health and wellness during a disaster, disease outbreak or other emergency.

Gather personal needs—food, water and medical supplies—to last at least 72 hours. Prepare an emergency supply of prescription medications. Use this checklist to create an emergency plan and to stock your emergency supply list. Prepare for power outages with backup power sources. Collect and protect important documents and medical records.

Plan Ahead

Have a strategy for staying healthy, informed, connected and calm. Planning for how to maintain and protect your health in case of a disaster or emergency is an important but often overlooked part of the preparedness process. A 2019 National Household Survey conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) found that just 48%of survey respondents had an existing emergency action plan.

Know how to maintain and protect your family’s health and wellness. Discuss ways to communicate with family, friends and caregivers in a time of emergency. Practice ways to stay calm when disaster strikes. Stay informed of important health and emergency information. Record phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, counselor and veterinarian. Other important numbers to know include:

  • Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222
  • Animal Poison Control Helpline: 888-426-4435
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

Create Community

Take care of yourself and each other. Take action to help improve everyone’s health and resilience. Lead by example and inspire others to prepare for the sake of their health and for that of their families. Improve access to help support the needs of the entire community.

People who are resilient and ready to care for their neighbors can have positive, even lifesaving impacts on their neighbors and in their communities at large.

All North Dakotans are encouraged visit ndresponse.gov for emergency preparedness resources.

Adapted from cdc.gov/prepyourhealth.