Do You Have an Emergency Health Plan?

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There is a lot of chaos when disaster strikes. But don’t let your health fall to the wayside.As more than 20,000 participants edged towards the finish line of the Boston marathon on Monday, their worst nightmare occurred. Two bombs went off, killing three people and injuring hundreds. Many spectators watched in horror as glass of nearby buildings shattered everywhere, as runners collapsed, and as emergency officials scattered to help the dead and injured. The Boston marathon, which has been held since 1897, attracts some half-million spectators—probably none of whom realized that their lives were in jeopardy when they waited on the sidelines, cheering on their friends and family.

And that’s one of the scariest parts of this unthinkable horror: that innocent people were attacked, when they least expected it, with no provocation or warning whatsoever.  But it is exactly unpredictable events like this Boston marathon bombing that emphasizes you always need to be prepared—and you always need an emergency plan.

Whether the emergency is a natural disaster, a foodborne epidemic, or a terrorist attack, the end result is the same: you must be prepared. Now’s the time to make sure you have an emergency plan in place so that when disaster strikes—like at the Boston marathon—you can stay calm.

On a national level, governments have emergency plans set in place in case of a foodborne illness outbreak; a chemical, radiological, or nuclear explosion; or a natural disaster. In fact, at the Boston marathon bombing, runners who had not finished the race were directed to a meeting area that had been selected in advance as an emergency meeting place. But individuals and families need emergency plans too, especially because you might forget all about your health during an emergency.

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First of all, you should understand the area you live in: is your city or state prone to getting earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods? Next, you should prepare an emergency plan kit with important information.

Your emergency plan should include a few key things:

  •  A first-aid kit with all the basics that you can easily grab and carry with you if you need to leave your home
  •  A designated meeting place for your family and friends, which is especially important if you have kids (another thing learned from the Boston marathon) and an escape route from your neighborhood if necessary
  • A list of important phone numbers (poison control center, your doctor, a local health center, etc.)
  • A list of any medications, herbs, supplements, or vitamins that you are taking

It’s vital that you don’t let your health suffer in the event of an emergency. Therefore, make sure you have easy access to any medications you’re on and that you are up to date with any surgeries you’ve had, or any conditions that you’re suffering from. Finally, be prepared: it only takes a few minutes to come up with an emergency plan—if the Boston marathon attacks proved anything, it’s that an emergency plan is definitely worthwhile.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Preparing your family for an emergency,” Health Canada web site; http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/emerg-urg-eng.php#info, last accessed April 15, 2013
“Explosions kill two at Boston Marathon, injure more than 100,” The Globe and Mail web site, April 15, 2013; http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/explosions-kill-two-at-boston-marathon-injure-more-than-100/article11230821/, last accessed April 15, 2013.

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