By Terry Orr
Think back to September 11th, the Tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina; you can never predict when a disaster will hit.
That is why July marks the recognition of Bio-terrorism/Disaster Education and Awareness Month.
The purpose of this month is clear: to raise awareness for emergency preparedness in case a disaster were to hit. There are many different types of disasters, from natural disasters to bioterrorism, but whatever the emergency, it's important to educate yourself to be prepared. The American Red Cross has compiled a guide to educate people on the different types of disasters and how to prepare for them. Utilize resources both online and off in order to educate and protect yourself and those you love in case of an emergency.
Bioterrorism and Disaster Education and Awareness: Are You Prepared?
What is Bioterrorism?
A bioterrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. These agents are typically found in nature, but it is possible that they could be changed to increase their ability to cause disease, make them resistant to current medicines, or to increase their ability to be spread into the environment. Biological agents can be spread through the air, through water, or in food. Terrorists may use biological agents because they can be extremely difficult to detect and do not cause illness for several hours to several days. (Source CDC).
Bioterrorism is the unlawful or threatened use of microorganisms or toxins derived from living organisms to produce death or disease in humans, animals, or plants. The act is intended to create fear, inflict injury and/or death, and to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of political, religious or ideological goals. (Source: Garrett County Health Department).
Preparedness refers to the state of being prepared for specific or unpredictable events or situations. Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. It is a major phase of emergency management, and is particularly valued in areas of competition such as sport and military science.
Methods of preparation include research, estimation, planning, resourcing, and education, practicing and rehearsing.
Remember from the Boy and Girl Scouts – “Be Prepared”.
The following web sites can assist you to being prepared before disaster strikes:
Create your family disaster plan: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/familyplan.html
Assembling a disaster supply kit: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/supplies.html
Assembling a workplace disaster supply kit: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/workkit.html
Children and disaster: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/forchildren.html
Disaster preparedness for people with disabilities: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/disability.html
Pets and disaster: www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/animalsafety.html
Other preparedness materials are available on the following web sites:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.bt.cdc.gov