Emergency Preparedness Improving among Americans, but Gaps Remain

Article excerpt

PERSONAL PREPAREDNESS for public health emergencies is improving in the U.S., yet gaps remain, especially when it comes to evacuation plans.

A study in the Sept. 14 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found household disaster preparedness overall had improved from 2006-2010. For example, in the survey of 14 states, nearly 95 percent of households had a working battery-operated flashlight, about 90 percent had a three-day supply of prescription medication for everyone who required those medications, 83 percent had a three-day supply of food and about 78 percent had a working, battery-operated radio.

A national poll conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation earlier this year found nearly half of U.S. adults do not have the recommended emergency preparedness resources and plans in place. More than half of people polled did not have a designated meeting place in case of disaster, 44 percent lacked first aid kits, 48 percent lacked emergency supplies 53 percent did not have at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable food at home.

That survey of about 1,000 people, conducted in May, also found more than half of respondents had not prepared copies of crucial documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports and health insurance information.

The CDC study found disaster and emergency preparedness has improved recently among men, English-speaking people and adults with more education. …