With hurricane season upon us, it’s a great time to be reminded of why being prepared for a national disaster is so incredibly important. September is National Preparedness Month, which promotes family and community disaster and emergency planning now and in the future. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared”, and the Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know we are here to help with any questions you may have during natural disasters. See the tips below that will help you create a kit to keep you and your family safe.
Emergency preparedness involves four important steps:
- Get or create a disaster preparedness kit (Check out this list from Ready.gov: https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit).
- Make a plan so your family knows what to do when a disaster happens; then practice this plan with your family. (Check out this family communication plan from FEMA which is available in multiple languages: https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan)
- Sign up for alerts in your area and preparedness tips from FEMA (Follow this link for more information: https://www.ready.gov/get-tech-ready).
- Get involved in preparing your community (The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster have worked tirelessly to assist communities since 1970 that are affected by disasters; learn how you can help by visiting their website at this link: https://www.nvoad.org/).
How can the Poison Centers help during disasters?
If there is concern regarding a chemical or biological attack, the staff at each of the poison centers has widespread knowledge of healthcare resources and works closely with hospitals to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment. Experts are able to identify what antidotes can help, as well as provide education to both the public and healthcare professionals.
Poison center staff handles acute and chronic poisonings, including environmental and occupational exposures on a daily basis. This is a helpful resource because the specialists in poison information who answer your calls have expertise in toxicology.
Poison centers collect data. The data collection system can assist in the detection of diseases and help track individuals who might have been exposed to a hazard.
Poison centers assist in alleviating fears. As a 24 hour resource, you can contact them at any time with concerns or issues. No question is too small and the poison specialists are happy to assist with any and all poison-related calls.
The Poison Help Hotline is such an important resource to the community and the best part is it’s available 24/7 for FREE! Call 1-800-222-1222 and put your mind at ease when dealing with any natural disaster, emergency, or any other poison related issue.