Public Health Preparedness
The Wells County Health Department is responsible for recognizing the needs of our population in the event of a crisis, and addressing those needs through careful planning. After the tragic events of 9/11, the State of Indiana recognized the need for stronger security measures and preparedness plans to address potential hazards to public health.
This office has developed a Crisis & Emergency Risk Communications (CERC) plan, as well as a Mass Prophylaxis plan for Wells County, and is ready to implement these plans if a public health disaster should occur. The CERC and Mass Prophylaxis plans utilize National Incident Management guidelines, and rely on the coordination and cooperation of many community entities, including Emergency Management, Fire Departments, Police Departments, hospitals, EMS, pharmacies, schools, and volunteer groups. These groups often participate in the emergency drills held by the State, and are a vital part of the County’s response to a disaster. The CERC and Mass Prophylaxis plans are continually updated to meet the ever-changing needs of our community.
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Do you have what you need to survive a natural disaster, or other emergency?
Brochures, handouts & checklists detailing the information below are available at the Wells County Health Department at 223 W. Washington Street, Bluffton, IN.
If you would like to help your community in the event of a public health emergency, register as an emergency volunteer with the Wells County Health Department by completing the Volunteer Registration Form and submitting it to the Health Department.
Whether it is an an extended power outage in your community, act of terrorism, or a pandemic illness, you must be prepared to make it on your own- at least for a period of time. Preparing for the unexpected is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for your family.
Gather emergency supplies to create a home emergency kit.
Some essential items you need:
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days
- At least three day supply of non-perishable food, such as canned or packaged food, and infant needs
- A change of clothes and footwear for each person
- At least three days worth of prescription medication (if needed)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Manual can opener
- Battery powered, solar powered, or hand-crank radio
- Hygiene items like soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and toothbrush
- Household chlorine bleach for disinfectant or to treat drinking water
- First aid basics like antiseptic, bandages, swabs, moist towlettes, thermometer
- Filter masks, or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air
- Garbage bags, plastic ties, and duct tape
- Sleeping bags and warm clothes (for cold weather climates)
- Fire extinguisher
- Extra pet food & supplies
Make a Plan
Plan in advance what you will do in an emergency. Use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you would do in different situations.
Create a plan to shelter-in-place. There are circumstances when you may need to stay put and create a barrier between you and potentially contaminated air outside. By sealing off a room or rooms with plastic sheeting and tape, you are creating a shelter-in-place, which may be a matter of survival if the environment outside is contaminated.
Know emergency plans at school and work. Talk to your children’s schools and your employer about emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together.
Plan Check List
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.
- Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at the main switches.
- Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.
- Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it’s kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Conduct a home hazard hunt.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supplies kit.
- Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
Be informed about potential threats, such as biological, chemical, explosive, and radiological attacks, and keep up recent incidents and illness outbreaks. By learning more about these threats, you are preparing yourself to react in an emergency.
- Visit http://www.bt.cdc.gov/Agent/Agentlist.asp to learn about specific bioterrorism agents/diseases
- Learn what the Northeast Chapter of the American Red Cross is doing to help prepare communities for emergencies, and help with disaster relief at http://www.redcrossofnei.org/
Get involved in preparing your community for possible public health incidents.
- Join Citizen Corps, which actively involves citizens in making our communities and our nation safer, stronger, and better prepared. Citizen Corps can be accessed at http://www.citizencorps.gov/ or by calling the Northeast Indiana Citizens Corps Council at 260-925-0917.
- Get involved in your childrens school, and learn how you can help better prepare schools for emergencies.
- Volunteer with local groups to prepare and assist with emergency response.
- Visit www.serve.gov to find volunteer opportunities in your community, or to create your own.
- Register as an emergency volunteer with the Wells County Health Department by completing the Volunteer Registration Form and submitting it to the Health Department.
Be Red Cross Ready!
Strategic National Stockpile- What it means to you
Emergency Supply List
Disinfecting Wells After an Emergency
Food & Water in an Emergency
Sanitizing with Bleach after an Emergency
Terrorism: Preparing for the Unexpected
Pets in Disaster Safety
Wells County Emergency Management Agency
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana
Indiana Department of Environmental Management
Indiana State Department of Health