Beyond COVID-19: Stay prepared for the next emergency

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Congratulations! You’ve fought through a global health emergency – the COVID-19 pandemic. You likely remember competing for toilet paper and bread at the grocery store in early 2020. Lorain County Public Health (LCPH) has tips to help you avoid similarly stressful situations during future emergencies. September is Emergency Preparedness Month. Plan now so you’re prepared for the next emergency- whether it’s a flood, power outage or severe weather.

Plan for staying home
Make a plan to allow yourself to stay comfortably at home for at least three days.
Build a home emergency kit that includes: a battery-operated radio, a loud whistle or horn, food that can be opened and prepared easily, one gallon of water per person per day, extra blankets and a first aid kit.

Pack a “go-bag” with items you might need if you must leave your home quickly, including food and drink, hygiene items, medication, a flashlight and batteries, a radio, a phone charger, important paperwork (like copies of insurance), identification and some cash.

Have a backup supply of your medications, and extra copies of your prescriptions from your health care providers (include a cooler and ice packs for medications that must be refrigerated).

Keep nearby any medical equipment or assistive devices (such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, lifts, and oxygen tanks) you may need, with operation instructions and spare batteries (or non-powered alternatives).

Plan for leaving home
Some emergency situations require you to leave home quickly.
Pack a “go-bag” as described above.
Be prepared to explain to rescuers how to move you or help you move (i.e. where to find any equipment or medications).
Ask a reliable family member, friend, or neighbor to visit or call you in severe weather or another emergency. Agree on what they should do if they are unable to reach you or think you may need help.

Help out during an emergency
Do you want to help out when an emergency strikes and with nonemergency community events? Join the Lorain County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)! The MRC was instrumental in LCPH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We need both medical and non-medical volunteers. Call 440-322-6367, or visit LorainCountyHealth.com/mrc to learn more.

Recipe: Make-your-own snack mix
This snack mix is made of non-perishable ingredients that can go in your emergency kit.
1 cup toasted oat cereal
¼ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts (or other unsalted nut)
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup dried cranberries
Combine all ingredients, and toss well. Serve immediately, or store for later snacking in a sealed container. Try adding other nuts or dried fruits for variety.
Adapted from Keep the Beat: Deliciously Healthy Family Meals.