Health Dept. urges citizens to be prepared

Wanda English Burnett

Across the country National Preparedness Month (NPM) has been declared with a number of agencies and organizations working together to make sure citizens are ready for any type of emergency that might occur.

NPM is now in its eighth year and began after 9/11 to increase preparedness in the United States. This is a month long campaign to encourage households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies.

The Ripley County Health Department is participating this year for the first time. “The Ripley County Health Department feels that by participating in the September National Preparedness Month, it will create an important opportunity to educate the residents of Ripley County about the need to prepare their homes, businesses, and communities for any type of emergency including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. RCHD has actively been involved in preparedness for several years,” noted Pat Thomas, Ripley County Health Dept. director.

The health department is creating their own preparedness kit and encouraging residents to do the same.

There are three important steps to follow:

One, get an emergency supply kit. This will vary according to your family size and needs. Local health officials say it may take emergency personnel up to three days to reach you so you should design your kit to last that long.

You should have one gallon of water per day.

A three-day supply of non-perishable food that requires no preparation, no refrigeration and very little if any water, should be available.

A first aid kit should include, latex gloves, scissors, tweezers, petroleum jelly, sterile dressings, band-aids, thermometer, soap or hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, sunscreen, prescription medication and supplies, over-the-counter pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antacid and laxatives.

Other needed items include: a wrench to shut off gas and water, can opener (manual not powered), eating utensils, paper cups, plates, towels, flashlight and extra batteries (no candles, open flames could cause an explosion if there is a gas leak), battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA weather radio preferred), local maps, dust mask, plastic sheeting, duct tape, garbage bags, fire extinguisher, matches in a waterproof case, blanket, chlorine bleach, cash (small bills), clothes, extra baby supplies and entertainment for kids if applicable.

You should put important documents such as birth certificates, social security card, deed, bonds, etc. in waterproof containers.

Secondly, your family needs a plan for what to do in case of an emergency. Make sure every family member knows the plan and can follow it.

And, thirdly, be informed about emergencies that could happen in your community, and identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency.

The theme for the September event is: A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare.

As Americans reflect on the ten year anniversary of September 11, 2001, where lives were lost at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, the health department urges everyone to join them as they prepare for such a disaster in the future. While it is hoped disaster plans never have to be used, officials say it is best to have them in place.

For more information on preparedness, you can contact the local health department at 812-689-5751 or go online: to