Maine Affiliate Helps Residents Get Ready for All Types of Emergencies

Article excerpt

WHEN IT comes to preparing for an emergency such as a bioterror attack, there is nothing handier than duct tape for sealing windows, doors and vents. But the Maine Public Health Association wants people to know that stocking the sticky silver stuff is just one of several steps necessary to get ready for any kind of emergency.

To spread the all-hazards preparedness message throughout the state, APHA's Maine Affiliate last year launched Get ME Ready: It Takes More Than Duct Tape. With a catchy theme that plays off the state's postal code abbreviation, the campaign's message resonates with the state's residents, said MPHA Executive Director Tina Pettingill, MPH, CPC.

"The purpose of Get ME Ready is to engage individuals and families in their own emergency preparedness," Pettingill told The Nation's Health. "We estimate that we've reached about half of the population of Maine."

Online at www.get meready.org, the multimedia campaign features materials for the general public, including checklists, fact sheets and a survey to assess personal readiness. Visitors can view a Get ME Ready video featuring Dora Ann Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, urging listeners to "get a kit, make a plan and be informed," as well as listen to podcasts with a pediatrician and veterinarian about preparing families and pets for emergencies. Also available are links to the state's emergency preparedness website at Maine.gov, APHA's Get Ready site at www. aphagetready.org and the federal government's preparedness site at www. ready.gov.

"We did an assessment over a year ago of Mainers, and we found that although many of our systems--such as towns, schools, hospitals, etc.--have really done a lot for emergency preparedness and are truly prepared for emergencies, most individuals and families are not," said Pettingill, who is an APHA member.

Like every state, Maine is at risk for a range of disasters, including emergencies related to health and weather. …