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APHA says check your stockpile with the March 8 clock change: ice storms a preparedness reminder.

Withmore than 1 million people in Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas losing power because of ice storms in January--and with as many as half a million still without power more than a week later--many Americans were asking themselves: Would I be ready?

In the wake of the storms, APHA's Get Ready campaign is reminding Americans that they should always have an emergency stockpile at home.

To make sure that supplies are fresh and well-stocked, APHA is calling on Americans to check their supplies when they change their clocks for daylight saving time on March 8. APHA's Get Ready: Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks campaign, which provides free preparedness materials, serves as a reminder that emergency supplies should be checked twice a year.

"No matter where you live, everyone is at risk for some sort of disaster--be it hurricanes, fires or extended power outages," said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E). "The recent ice storms have really brought the preparedness message home for Americans. We are grateful that public health workers have been there to provide help to those affected."

Emergency and public health workers were called into action following the late January storms, which left some shivering at home without power, radio or phone service and others seeking help at emergency shelters. Disaster and emergency declarations were made for Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky, and the American Red Cross and Federal Emergency Management Agency were responding to calls for aid. Public health departments were also playing a key role, loaning generators to shelters, coordinating emergency response and providing disaster personnel.

"Many people do not think of emergency preparedness and response when they think of public health," said William Hacker, MD, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. "Since 2001 however, there has been a concerted effort to build the capacity of public health to assist in responding to emergencies of all types, including the development of strong relationships with emergency management, hospitals and other key partners. Those efforts have allowed public health at the state and local level to step up to the plate and provide a wide range of assistance to the primary response agencies during this event."

APHA members and other public health workers are asked to help spread the word about preparedness by sharing free Get Ready materials, including those in Spanish. Health departments and organizations are encouraged to hold Set Your Clocks, Check Your Stocks events in advance of March 8 or to post the campaign logo and link on their Web sites.

For more information and stockpiling tips, visit www.getreadyforflu.org/ clocksstocks.
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Title Annotation:March 8
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:431
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