The state Department of Public Health is launching a public awareness campaign to tell Iowans how to deal with emergencies. Health Department Director Mary Mincer-Hansen says the campaign is one of the recommendations made by federal officials to improve the state plan for natural disasters or terrorist attacks. The campaign will use radio, newspaper and television ads to encourage you to pick up a free guidebook to use to prepare for emergencies. She says the guidebook has useful information that Iowans can use to prepare themselves, their loved ones and to help their neighbors protect themselves.
Mincer-Hansen says they’ve found a real need for the guidebook. She says a Health Department study found only eight percent of Iowans believe they’re prepared for a public health emergency, and only 14 percent have an emergency plan in place. They guidebook talks about biological, nuclear or radiation attacks and chemical agents — but Mincer-Hansen says it’s not going back to the days where Americans were instructed to build bomb shelters.
She says “We’re not asking Iowans to be prepared for all of those, we’re asking them to have a kit, where they can, if they need to, stay in their home where they have the basics.” She says you can then look to local and state public health agencies to take care of the emergencies. Mincer-Hansen says the most important thing people can do is to talk to each other and plan so they’re ready if a disaster does occur.
Mincer-Hansen says Iowa’s not alone in trying to get residents to think ahead.
She says some other states have started doing things. She says they’ve made the guidebook very extensive so Iowans can have some direction for any situation. The free guidebook will be available next Monday (August 15th). You can get one by surfing to www.protectiowahealth.org, or by calling 866-339-7906. The guidebook will also be available at I-S-U Extension offices, the Hy-Vee and Casey’s retail stores, and U.S. Cellular outlets.