NEW YORK – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been using multiple channels to get the word out about post-storm safety to residents of areas still reeling from the effects of recent hurricanes.
"Short-term we are concerned about injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, gastrointestinal problems because of contaminated water or food, mold is a concern and just general infection control-type things," Dr. Sven Rodenbeck, acting incident manager for the CDC's response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, told Reuters Health in a telephone interview. "Longer term, probably the biggest thing is mental health."
In addition to sending personnel and supplies to areas hit by the hurricanes, the CDC, through its Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, has been posting advisories on topics ranging from safe chainsaw use to post-trauma mental health on Twitter and Facebook.
The CDC is also partnering with businesses to promote safety, Dr. Rodenbeck said, for example by working with Home Depot and Lowe's to make sure that carbon monoxide monitors are stocked right next to where generators are sold.
Being prepared for hurricanes - or any disaster - can make the aftermath a bit easier, but the CDC notes that just half of U.S. adults have an emergency plan in place or a stock of emergency supplies. The agency provides detailed step-by-step guidelines on emergency planning and preparedness at http://bit.ly/2xeGwR5.
Key elements of hurricane preparedness include:
- Making an emergency plan
- Securing a three- to five-day supply of water, non-perishable food, and baby formula and baby food if needed
- Gathering prescription medications, personal care products and emergency supplies, and storing them in an easy-to-reach spot
- Deciding whether to evacuate or stay in place
The CDC provides detailed guidance on safe cleanup, mold prevention, hygiene and other post-hurricane issues at http://bit.ly/2xepIJK.
For more guidance and technical materials on preparation, post-storm safety and cleanup in both English and Spanish, go to http://bit.ly/2xeGAjN.