Water Safety & Emergency Preparedness | Blogs

woman carrying jugs

August is National Water Quality Month

The United States has one of the safest and most reliable drinking water systems in the world. However, emergencies, such as natural (e.g., hurricanes, floods, and droughts) and man-made disasters (e.g., chemical spills), can damage water infrastructure and/or contaminate water supplies.

Safe drinking water is essential to the health and wellbeing of communities. Every year, about 7.2 million people get sick in the U.S. from diseases spread through water. Knowing how to ensure your access to safe water during & after emergencies can protect you from getting sick.callout

Ensuring Access to Safe Water

Depending on the emergency, your water may be safe to use for personal hygiene and handwashing, but unsafe for drinking and cooking. Or it could be unsafe to use for any reason.

Authorities use drinking water advisories to inform communities about public health threats related to drinking water. Advisories are

Parents & Teachers: Helping Children Cope with Emergencies | Blogs

Kids stand in line waiting to board a school bus.

Public health emergencies affect millions of children worldwide each year. These emergencies include natural and man-made disasters.

It is difficult to predict how some children will respond to emergencies or the trauma of losing their homes or being separated from school, family, and friends. These events can cause stress and anxiety in children.

Because parents, teachers, and other adults see children in different situations, they should share information about how each child is coping after a traumatic event. Children may have strong emotions right away, or they may not show signs of difficulty until much later. Knowing how to help children cope after an emergency can help them heal and feel safe and healthy again.

Children react to what they see from the adults around them. Getting upset or anxious during an emergency is common. When parents and caregivers manage these emotions and deal with a disaster calmly and confidently,

Improve Health Literacy Before an Emergency | Blogs

A worried looking older woman stares at a laptop computer.

October is Health Literacy Month

Getting the right person to deliver the right message at the right time saves lives, but only if the audience can make sense of the message.

People need information they can find, understand, and use to make the best decisions for their health every day. The same is true before and during an emergency when there’s an increase in the amount of information and speed at which it comes out.

Health literacy is all about finding, understanding, and using information and making information findable, understandable, and usable. Health literacy is important to effectively prepare for and safely respond to an emergency like a natural disaster.

The definition of health literacy was updated in August 2020 to acknowledge health literacy as the shared responsibility of individuals and organizations.

Organizational health literacy is the degree to which organizations equitably help people find, understand, and use information and

#PrepYourHealth for Power Outages | Blogs

A young woman and boy make hand shadow puppets using a flashlight against a white wall.

October is Energy Awareness Month

Power outages (i.e., when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly) and precautionary power shutoffs are happening more often because of and to prevent emergencies. These emergencies include disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says, on average, U.S. electricity customers experienced just over 8 hours of electric power interruptions in 2020. That was the most since EIA began collecting electricity reliability data in 2013.(1)

The EIA further reported that customers in Alabama, Iowa, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and Louisiana experienced the most time with interrupted power in 2020. Severe weather was a factor in all these states.

  • Alabama experienced several hurricanes, including a direct hit from Hurricane Sally.
  • Tropical Storm Isaias left about 750,000 electricity customers in Connecticut without power. Some didn’t have power for over a week.
  • A derecho affected Iowa and other parts of the Midwest. It caused widespread power

10 Ways to Show Kindness During Emergencies | Blogs

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November 13 is World Kindness Day

Kindness is good for you. According to researchers, helping others release hormones that boost your mood and wellbeing.(1, 2)

Kindness is most beneficial to you and others when it’s made part of your routine. Acts of kindness take on increased meaning during an emergency when people need care, concern, and consideration.

Here are 10 ways you can show kindness to yourself and others before, during, and after an emergency.

  1. Join someone’s personal support network. A personal support network is a group of people who volunteer to help a family member, friend, neighbor, etc. living with an impairment, activity limitation, or participation restriction that can affect their ability to prepare for and respond to emergencies.
  2. Care for yourself in at least one small way each day. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and