HARRISBURG — As National Preparedness Month continues, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine on Thursday encouraged Pennsylvanians to take the proper steps needed to protect their health in case large-scale emergency or disaster occurs.
“In the event of a natural disaster, an extended power outage or a flu pandemic, it is important to have the essentials prepared for you and your family in case help cannot get to you right away,” said Levine. “In some cases, emergency or disaster situations can limit access to supplies and services for several days, weeks, or even months. It is never too late to prepare for an emergency. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to start preparing now so that if an emergency does occur, they have the supplies, items and medications they need.”
To protect their health, Pennsylvanians should ensure their personal needs, prescriptions, paperwork, power sources and life-saving skills are ready for an emergency. According to the CDC, this includes:
- Gathering enough food, water and medical supplies to last at least 72 hours;
- Preparing a seven to 10-day supply of prescription medications;
- Collecting and protecting important documents and medical records;
- Preparing for a power outage with backup power sources and manual equipment; and
- Learning life-saving skills, such as CPR, to use until help arrives.
- Ensuring adequate supplies of prescription medications is an essential step to health preparedness. While preparing prescriptions, make sure the medications are stored in a waterproof, childproof container and provide an up-to-date list of all prescription medications, including dosage amounts and the names of the generic equivalents, medical supply needs, and known allergies. If you have pets, it is also important to prepare a two-week supply of any medications and a one-month supply of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.
Pennsylvanians should check their prescriptions at least twice a year to make sure the medications in their emergency supply kit have not expired. If they are expired, it is important to dispose of the medication properly. Leftover opioids and other prescription drugs can be sold or misused by others, stolen, or otherwise end up in the wrong hands. The Wolf Administration has made safe disposal of prescription drugs a priority in its fight against the opioid crisis through a statewide drug take-back program.
Since the inception of Pennsylvania’s drug take-back program in 2014, there has been more than 603,000 pounds of prescription medication destroyed. with more than 800 take-back boxes established in all 67 counties throughout the commonwealth. A map of take-back box locations searchable by county and zip code can be found on the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ website here.
For more information on emergency preparedness in Pennsylvania, visit www.health.pa.gov or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.