September is National Preparedness Month and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends all Iowans to take some simple steps now that may have huge payoffs in the event of a public health emergency.
"It's especially important that Iowans are prepared for any type of emergency as we're heading into the fall and winter season in the Midwest," said IDPH's Center for Disaster Operations and Response Bureau Chief, Rebecca Curtiss.
"It's not uncommon to see extended power outages due to ice storms, infectious disease outbreaks like the flu, and other natural and man-made disasters that can affect the public's health."
When an emergency happens, families may not have time to search for supplies and stores might not be open to fulfill even the most basic needs, so every Iowan should be prepared with an emergency supply kit.
The kit should contain, at a minimum, three days of food and water for each person in your home. IDPH recommends at least one gallon of drinking water per person per day. Other necessities include a basic first-aid kit, flashlight, prescription and non-prescription medications, changes of clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items, battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
Another simple step that can pay dividends later is to have an emergency plan. Have a discussion with your family about what to do in an emergency; agree on a meeting place or how to contact each other in case family members are separated.
Detailed steps for building an emergency kit and plan are available in the Protect Iowa Health guidebook; Iowa Guide to Keeping You Safe. The publication is available free of charge to individuals, businesses, and organizations by logging on to www.protectiowahealth.org or by calling toll free 1-866-339-7906.