What can I do now to prepare for my medical safety following a disaster?

There are a number of actions you can take to better prepare you and your family for any medical need, which may arise following a disaster. Here are just a few suggestions: 

Get Involved! Be a part of the solution! Your help is needed right now by a number of organizations that are preparing to respond to large medical needs. Hospitals, municipal organizations, private service groups are getting ready to support the Orange County medical community. You can share in this, and you don’t have to be a medically trained person. You only have to be someone who cares about people in your community.

Take a First Aid Course. A first aid course might be a good place to start. A basic first aid course is ideal for almost any adult or young adult. You don’t need to be a medical expert and the course can be completed in 6 to 8 hours. Take a family member, friend or neighbor to a Red Cross First Aid class and you will be taking a big step in building your emergency medical support team. To locate a class, call your local American Red Cross chapter (in Orange County 714-481-5300), or contact the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for your city.

Create a First Aid Kit for Home & Car. Whether you buy a pre-packaged first aid kit or put one together yourself, this act of preparedness should be one of your first steps in getting ready for the next disaster. What ever type of kit you choose, make the first aid kit suitable for you and your family. Here is a quick list of some of the more important items:

  • Protective latex/plastic gloves
  • Band-Aids, 1", 2" and 3" rolled gauze and 4"X4" gauze pads
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Large triangular bandages
  • 2" and 4" Elastic bandages
  • Bandage (adhesive) tape
  • Cold medication, decongestants, antihistamine
  • Antiseptics/sterile wash for wounds and antibiotic ointment
  • Pain reliever (aspirin, acetaminophen, etc.)
  • Antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, laxatives
  • Eye wash/eye drops
  • 7 day supply of prescription medications
  • Extra eyeglasses/contacts; contact lens cleaner/soak
  • Sunscreen, skin lotion
  • Soap, towels, tissue, paper cups, plastic
  • spoons and bags
  • Scissors, tweezers, magnifying glass
  • Thermometer
  • Safety pins, pocket knife, needle and thread, matches
  • Flashlight, mirror
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Blanket
  • Splinting material and instant cold packs 

These supplies can be stored in a toolbox or fishing tackle box and kept with other emergency supplies. All disaster supplies should be checked at least 2-4 times a year. Watch all dated items for the expiration date. Replace them before they expire and utilize them for your day-to-day needs. You can use your disaster kit for other every day emergencies as well. Just be sure to keep your inventory stocked!

Temperatures inside your car can become extreme. The first aid kit in your automobile should be stored in the coolest location possible, and checked every 3 months.

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