September is National Preparedness Month! Recently we have seen the devastation from disasters with the wildland fires across the Western states destroying homes, displacing families, and even causing death. In Nevada, we are prone to not only fires, but also floods and earthquakes. A disaster can happen at any time and responders are not always close by. You can make a difference by being the help until help arrives and learning basic comfort skills.
Before you can help others, you have to be prepared yourself. Having an emergency plan and kit with three to seven days’ worth of food and water is a great starting point. You should also sign up for local emergency alerts to keep informed before and during a disaster. It is necessary to keep a basic first aid kit in places where you spend a lot of time such as your car or your work place. In addition, knowing how to shut off the natural gas and water supplies to your home, how to use a fire extinguisher, and how to replace carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are other ways to prepare. Preparing at home and teaching those who live with you about what to do in an emergency can keep you, your family, and your home safe.
Approximately four out of every five people will rely on their neighbor during a disaster. If you are needed to be the help until help arrives, there are some basic steps to take in an emergency.
Step 1: Call 9-1-1
It is important for everyone, regardless of age, to know how to dial 9-1-1. When calling, remember to take a deep breath and let the 9-1-1 operator guide you. The operator will ask questions to ensure the best resources are being sent to the correct place. Make sure you provide as much information as you can.
Step 2: Stay Safe
Assessing a life-threatening situation can prevent injuries and save lives. Look for dangers such as powerlines, smoke, and moving vehicles. Listen for sounds such as creaking, booms, or gunshots. Notice if you smell gasoline or other chemicals. If you feel safe in the area, then you can start looking for injured people. If you do not feel safe, leave the area.
Step 3: Provide Comfort
When helping an injured person, try to comfort them. Share your name and ask them basic information about what you can do to help them. You can tell them what happened, what is being done to help them, and what is going to happen next. Simple actions such as offering them a hand to hold, keeping them warm, maintaining eye contact, and being understanding can help someone who is hurt. When helping those with a disability or access and functional needs, make sure to ask what you can do to help them. If they have a caregiver or medical equipment, keep them together.
Want to learn more about disaster preparedness and response skills? Join your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) or local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit. You will be a part of an organized and trained team that will be ready to respond to local emergencies and help with local emergency planning and response needs. To find your local CERT unit, visit https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team. To learn more about the Western Nevada Medical Reserve Corps, which serves Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey Counties, visit https://mrc.hhs.gov/HomePage or call 775-283-7536. For additional information on being the help until help arrives, visit https://community.fema.gov/until-help-arrives.
Carson City Health and Human Services urges everyone to take steps to be better prepared for a disaster. For information about services and programs available to you through Carson City Health and Human Services, please visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at (775) 887-2190. You can also find us at 900 East Long Street in Carson City.