Educational and fun preparedness links and resources for families & kids

March 15, 2020

With scenes of empty store shelves, fights over toilet paper and most Americans being told to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, many of us will have a lot of time on our hands in the coming days and weeks.

And, since internet access is not a problem for most (as it often is whenever there is a weather-related disaster or emergency), there are things people can do to learn more about getting themselves and their loved ones prepared for the unexpected (including a zombie apocalypse!)

The U.S. has approximately 800,000 active Law Enforcement Officials (including Police & Sheriff), 1.1 million Firefighters (over 70% are volunteers), and 210,000 EMT / paramedics meaning there are about 2.1 million first responders supporting over 327 million Americans.

And with some quarantines impacting health and public safety personnel in communities around the country (and world), you, your family and neighbors could be the “first” first responders if an emergency or disaster strikes.

Knowledge is power and can help reduce fear and anxiety. Consider taking the below online CERT course and visit some of the kid-friendly sites near the bottom to educate your family and have some fun while doing it.

Community Emergency Response Team

In the U.S. and Canada, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train volunteers to assist first responders in emergency situations in their communities.

CERT members give critical support to first responders during emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Normally the CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course, and includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations and is usually delivered in 2-1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.

FEMA also provides an online study course called “Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams“, IS 317, for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members.

The online course takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete and includes 6 modules…

  • CERT Basics,
  • Fire Safety,
  • Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents,
  • Disaster Medical Operations,
  • Search and Rescue,
  • and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training.

But it is educational and easy to do from your home or office and is a great teaching tool for your entire family. Learn more at FEMA.gov

Also, if you have high school and/or college kids in your family, Teen CERT can give them the above mentioned skills to protect themselves, their family, and friends in case of disaster or emergency. Learn more at www.ready.gov/teen-cert and share above FEMA course link with them too.

Educational and fun preparedness resources for families & kids:

Free ebook (59-pg portion of our preparedness & first aid manual with tips + resources about floods, hurricanes, infectious diseases (e.g. flu, COVID-19, staph, etc.), wildfires, family plans, kits + more) www.fedhealth.net/look-inside-book.html

Ready Kids www.ready.gov/kids

Ready.gov (resources for families, kids, businesses + pets) www.ready.gov

CDC’s Ready Wrigley www.cdc.gov/cpr/readywrigley

CDC (tips for families, college students & kids) www.cdc.gov/family/healthypeople/  

CDC’s Zombie preparedness www.cdc.gov/cpr/zombie/

Sesame Street (Let’s Get Ready) www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/ready


Some things YOU can do to stop the spread of flu, coronaviruses, staph and other infectious diseases

March 11, 2020

As we wrote last month, there are some things people can do to help reduce infectious diseases like flu, coronaviruses and other cooties in your home and work environments.

How infectious diseases spread…

Most infectious diseases are spread by close person-to-person contact primarily by touching people or things contaminated with bodily fluids (like pee, poop, sweat, droplets from sneezing, etc) — then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Other diseases (like MRSA) can be spread by sharing personal items like towels or razors or by medical staff using contaminated items like stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, clipboards or charts, and pens. Keep in mind some bacteria or viruses can survive on objects for days, weeks or months.

Some things YOU can do to reduce the spread of germs

Since Bill is very immunocompromised, we are again sharing some things I / we do constantly to keep germs at bay with links to some of our blog posts.

  • Carry disinfecting wipes in your vehicles and backpacks, and put some in a baggie before you go out in public to wipe down surfaces of things you have to touch and/or to wipe your hands. (Keep in mind most wipes use ammonia, but there are some industrial wipes that use bleach instead. But never mix ammonia and bleach!)
  • Keep a box of cheap plastic disposable gloves in your vehicles so you can put on a pair when pumping gas or using ATMs or even shopping.
  • Wipe down everything that comes into your home with disinfecting wipes (or a rag dipped in water and bleach solution) including groceries or other items you buy at stores or something that is delivered to your door via ground or postal service.
  • Before you set your purse, backpack or briefcase on your kitchen table or countertop …think about all the places you put those things during the day! Either have a special place for these items in your home or office … or be meticulous about wiping them down before putting them on furniture, counters, carpet, desktops, etc. Also consider getting portable purse hooks to keep it off the floor of restaurants, public restrooms, etc.
  • Did you know cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats..?! Think about all the places you use and place your phone every day. Then remember … germs thrive in warm environments and smartphones generate heat — plus your hands, face, mouth and body heat (if you carry your phone in a pocket) all add to the cootie cocktail so learn how to clean your phone.
  • Consider getting a UV disinfectant wand because its light rays kill up to 99.9% of germs and comes in handy for all types of handheld devices, ear buds, keyboards, remotes and many other gadgets and household items where cooties can thrive.
  • Fist bump rather than shaking hands — or just tell people you don’t shake hands. And if you do shake someone’s hand don’t touch your face (esp. eyes or mouth) before you are able to wash your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing. If in a public bathroom, use paper towels to turn off water and to open the door when leaving.
handwashing tips
  • When should you wash your hands?
    • Before, during, and after preparing food
    • Before eating food
    • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
    • Before and after treating a cut or wound
    • After using the toilet
    • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After touching an animal or animal waste
    • After handling pet food or pet treats
    • After touching garbage
  • When you can’t wash hands while out in public, use a hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol in it) or disinfectant wipes on hands (and keys, glasses, door handles, steering wheel, etc.) to reduce the spread of germs. But keep in mind sanitizers don’t work against some bugs so it’s best to wash up. Also people with celiac disease (like Bill) can’t do alcohol sanitizers so find other options like disinfecting wipes or gluten-free sanitizers.
  • Tell healthcare workers and visitors to wash their hands before they touch you or your stuff — don’t be timid!
  • If you have a fever, stay home! And wait at least 24 hours after fever breaks before you return to work or school.
  • Use antibiotics or antiviral meds only when absolutely necessary. Consider boosting your immune system to help fight infections.
  • Sick people should cover mouth and nose with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often, and wear a face mask around others so you don’t spread your germs to others.
  • Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until healed.
  • Clean counters, doorknobs, fixtures, phones, remotes, nurse call buttons, linens, phones, etc. often with a bleach solution ~ esp. if in a nursing home or hospital room.
  • Disinfect things many people at work and school use like microwave buttons, spigots on water coolers, keyboards, calculators, phones, pens, staplers, etc. with a UV wand or bleach solution often or at least carry around some disinfecting wipes so you can clean items before use.
  • Don’t share silverware, razors, clothing, towels, or bedding and wash objects with soap and hot water.
  • Follow doctor’s instructions and limit activities outside home until fever and symptoms have gone away.

For more information about infectious diseases, visit…

Center for Disease Control

Flu.gov

National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases

WHO Infectious Diseases


Medical Reserve Corps volunteers strengthen America’s public health

March 2, 2020

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a national network of volunteers, organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities.

The MRC network currently comprises over 180,000 volunteers in 830+ units located throughout the United States and its territories.

MRC units are community-based and function as a way to locally organize and utilize medical and non-medical volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources.

About the Medical Reserve Corps

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many Americans asked, “What can I do to help?” Public health professionals were among those who wanted to volunteer their services, but many were not able to find a way to do so. While these professionals had applicable skills sets, they could not be deployed. This was because they were not identified, credentialed or trained in advance. So, the Medical Reserve Corps was created to build a group of people who can assist existing local public health in the event of a true public health emergency or disaster.

MRC was originally a partner program with Citizen Corps and resided under HHS’ Office of the Surgeon General. In 2015 the MRC was welcomed into HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Office of Emergency Management family. MRC also works closely with the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to enhance MRC units’ ability to meet local, state, and national needs through collaboration, coordination, and capacity-building activities.

MRC units engage volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks. They frequently contribute to community health activities that promote healthy habits.

Volunteers include medical and public health professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians, and epidemiologists. Many community members with non-medical backgrounds—interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors, and others—can fill other key support positions.

Credit: MDRMRC

Some examples of activities that MRC volunteers participate in and support include:

  • Emergency Preparedness and Response Trainings
  • Mass Dispensing Efforts
  • Emergency Sheltering
  • Vaccination Clinics
  • Responder Rehab
  • Health Education and Promotion
  • Disaster Medical Support
  • Outreach to Underserved Community Members
  • Medical Facility Surge Capacity
  • First Aid During Large Public Gatherings
  • Engaging Youth in Public Health Activities
  • Planning, Logistical & Administrative Support
  • Health Screenings
  • Veterinary Support and Pet Preparedness
  • and more!

To volunteer or partner with your local Medical Reserve Corps, visit their Find MRC Units page to locate the unit nearest you and reach out to the unit coordinator and visit https://mrc.hhs.gov to learn more about this great organization.

MRC Network Well Check Webinars

MRC Network Well Check interactive webinars provide MRC unit leaders and State Coordinators with information on a wide variety of topics, largely determined by members’ interests and needs. Through these ongoing wellness check-ups of the MRC network, members will be provided a platform to connect, share, and learn with your peers and leadership, plus some members will also be asked to serve as presenters.

Webinars are typically held on the first Tuesday of each month at 2p ET and run about 60 minutes long primarily focusing on a specified topic. Many include a Q & A period and highlights from the field, as well. Visit https://mrc.hhs.gov/pageviewfldr/WellCheckCalls to find upcoming and archived webinars.

Many MRC units use customized It’s A Disaster books

Since Medical Reserve Corps’ creation in 2002 many Health Departments and MRCs (+ EMs, CERTs, etc.) have purchased our 266-page preparedness and first aid manuals customized both in the print process and using standard red books with stickers for volunteers, events and local communities.

Our IT’S A DISASTER! bulk price is only $4.50 U.S. each delivered (70% off list on 10 or more copies) … and we can customize them for free to include data about your MRC unit, how to become a volunteer, public health information and more. And our book qualifies as community education on most grants providing about a $4-to-$1 return that can be used on matching grant programs.

Download a free 59-page portion of our book in PDF and learn how to order paperbacks (or ebooks) at www.fedhealth.net or call 520.907.2153.


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