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Get Ready Day

September 10, 2008

APHA, for the second year in a row, is sponsoring Get Ready Day. Timed in National Preparedness Month, it is intended to raise awareness about community preparedness–something I’m sure our good friend John Solomon will probably write up a ton better than I would.

So why not just link to In Case of Emergency and be done? Because of the APHA angle. In the article that I saw advertising Get Ready Day, there is a specific focus on public health preparedness issues:

Americans are overwhelmingly unprepared for a public health crisis, according to a 2007 national poll from APHA. The poll, conducted in February 2007 by a research firm, found that 87 percent of Americans would not be prepared if a public health crisis such as an infectious disease outbreakor disaster struck their communities the next day.

That’s not that crazy of a percentage, either. It’s well known that the vast majority of people don’t even have an escape plan for their own house, let alone understand the intracacues of social distancing or have had N95’s fit tested.

A public health crisis is the worst case scenario and people aren’t even ready for the best case scenario!

APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E) [said,] “It’s up to us as public health professionals to urge communities to become more prepared[.]”

This article that I read is in a paper sent to all APHA members (most of whom are academics) and encourages them to take an active role in preparedness activities, which is great and will hopefully spur folks to action

I worry that this one time focusing on preparedness will only serve as a lightning rod for criticism yet again. Public health preparedness needs to be pitched, at minimum to public health professionals, as part of everyday public health. While the focus is usually on pandemic flu and bioterrorism, I wonder if that APHA set wouldn’t react better if it was sold in terms of global health or infectious disease control.

Just a suggestion.

More information can be found on Get Ready Day at the Get Ready for Flu website and via their great Twitter feed.

Image credit: APHA

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