This is "Protect Iowa Health Day" at the Iowa State Fair, as state health officials expect to hand out 5,000 first aid kits and 7,000 guidebooks on emergency preparedness. Alex Carfrae, a risk communications officer at the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the guidebook offers people a host of common-sense tips for how to handle disasters — man-made and natural.
Carfrae says, "The guidebook tells Iowans to basically be prepared, remain calm in any emergency, have patience and to have an emergency plan." He says Iowans need to have a practiced plan for how they’d find each other, or at least get in touch, if separated during an emergency. Carfrae says Iowans should prepare themselves for any disaster by keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in their homes.
Carfrae says, "People should have bottled water, a small first aid kit, personal hygiene items, non-perishable food items, plates, cups, utensils and prescription medications." He also suggests stocking the kit with other items, including: a radio and batteries, a flashlight, a whistle, a can opener, bedding and extra clothes.
The state got more than 2,500 requests for the "Protect Iowa Health" guidebooks during the recent floods and they’re available in English and Spanish. If you won’t be at the fair today, Carfrae says you can go to the Department of Public Health’s website to order a free guidebook or to download a P.D.F. file of the entire thing from the site.
You can also call 866-339-7906 to order one for free. Carfrae notes, Iowa suffered 18 major disasters between 1989 and 2005, from tornadoes to chemical plant explosions. Every one of Iowa’s 99 counties has had at least one disaster in the past decade.