Individual preparedness tips

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The following is a list of actions people can take to prepare for a possible outbreak of avian flu virus and to lessen its effects.

n Make a checklist of items you should stockpile if the following services are disrupted: hospital, health care facilities, banks, restaurants, government offices, schools, telephone and cellular phone companies, post office, transportation companies, fuel suppliers, and hardware, food and other stores.

n Prepare lists of phone numbers and e-mail addresses to access or distribute information if public gatherings such as meetings and worship services are disrupted.

n Plan on restrictions on public gatherings such as at malls and movie theaters.

n Prepare backup plans for taking care of loved ones who are far away.

n Keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in small denominations for easy use in case local ATMs and banks are closed.

n Store at least one or two weeks supply of nonperishable foods that do not require refrigeration, preparation, water or cooking.

n Stockpile pet foods.

n Store two weeks worth of water, one gallon of water per person, per day, in clean plastic containers.

n Have nonprescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including soap or alcohol-based hand wash; medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen; a thermometer; anti-diarrhea medications; vitamins.

n Stash garbage bags, manual can opener, portable radio, flashlights, batteries.

n Ask your employer how business will continue during a pandemic. Discuss staggered shifts, working at home, telecommuting possibilities, flexibility in leave policies.

n Plan for possible loss of income.

n Plan for children staying at home for extended periods because school closings would likely happen very early in a pandemic and on short notice. Plan home learning activities and exercises and get materials, educational computer activities and movies.

n Cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw it away immediately after use.

n Wash hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand cleaner.

n Avoid close contact with sick people.

n Stay home if you get the flu.

n Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth because germs are often spread this way.

n Identify sources for reliable information online, radio, TV and newspapers. Three are: www.pandemicflu.gov; www.maineflu.gov; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hot line 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636.

Source: Oxford County Emergency Management Agency

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