Public health threats are events
or disasters that can affect you and your community. Examples of public health
- Natural disasters.
- Accidents involving hazardous
- Terrorist attacks.
Public health threats can affect air quality, cause
shortages of safe water and food, and cut off electricity, gas, telephone, and
other services. You and your family members may be separated.
Disasters are hard to predict and usually are out of your control. But
you can take steps to help keep yourself and your family safe.
Preparing for disaster
Here are some things you can
do to help prepare for a disaster:
- Learn about specific health threats and what
you can do to reduce the risk to your health and safety. This topic helps you
understand how health hazards can spread through a community and how you can
limit your exposure to them.
- Make an emergency plan and gather the
supplies you may need during an emergency. This topic includes tips on making
an emergency plan and a supplies kit.
- Learn basic first aid skills
such as CPR. And know where to find first aid information in case of injuries.
For example, you can keep a first aid book in your emergency supplies
- Always look to local authorities and health experts for
specific, up-to-date information for your area. Follow their advice, even if it
differs from this topic.
Following these steps can help you be better prepared for
any type of public health threat.
Health threats in your community
There are many
things in our environment that can be harmful. Chemicals, fumes, viruses,
bacteria, and low-level radiation are just a few of them. When these substances
are released in large quantities or get out of control, they can become urgent
public health threats. Guidelines for how to prepare for and avoid a problem
often depend on how the substance is spread.
In general, a health
threat may spread through a community:
- In the air.
- In the water supply
- From human to human.
- From animal or insect to
Call your local health department for information about
health threats in your area.