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DHS news release

Aug. 29, 2007

Contact: Tom Towslee, 971-673-0396, 503-559-0652

Preparing for emergencies takes only a few simple steps

The Oregon Public Health Division is encouraging Oregonians to take a few simple steps to prepare for emergencies at home, work or school, including getting an emergency supply kit, making an emergency plan, and learning about different threats and how to respond to them.

"The anniversary of Hurricane Katrina serves as a stark reminder of what can happen when we don't adequately prepare for emergencies," said Dr. Susan Allan, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., state public health director. "Planning for emergencies is relatively simple. Dealing with the consequences of a natural or public health disaster is not."

September has been declared Preparedness Month nationally and in Oregon. A proclamation issued today by Gov. Ted Kulongoski said that "emergency preparedness is every Oregonian's responsibility," and endorsed efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of being prepared for emergencies at home, school and businesses.

Dr. Allan said that the Oregon Public Health Division has been planning and continues to plan for how to respond to natural disasters and public health emergencies, including three specific scenarios: chemical spill, tsunami/earthquake and pandemic influenza.

"The work we've done to be ready for these events needs to go hand in hand with what individuals, families and businesses do to help themselves cope with disastrous events," Allan said.

To prepare for emergencies:

  • Have a plan that includes contact numbers for family and friends, including those who are out of town.
  • Get a kit of emergency supplies that will last for at least three days. The kit should include basic items such as water, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight, medications and a first-aid kit.
  • Designate a place where everyone should meet outside the home or neighborhood.
  • Learn the evacuation plans for your children's school or day care center and other places where your family spends time, such as work.
  • Learn more about different threats that could affect your community and appropriate responses to them.
  • Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them.
  • Get involved by getting training in first aid and emergency response.
  • Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed.

For additional information about emergency preparedness contact local public health officials or go to the Oregon Public Health Division's Preparedness Web site.

Other sources of information include:

• The American Red Cross
• U.S. Department of Homeland Security

• Oregon Emergency Management

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