Disaster Preparedness

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October 25, 2006

Here are some websites collected from newspapers to help prepare for a disaster.

 DISASTERS & EMERGENCIES (hhs.gov/disasters)

This Department of Health and Human Services site is a central resource for all of the federal government's information on natural disasters, emergencies, bioterrorism, traumatic events and mental health. The site also has links to government agencies that sponsor related programs, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's bioterrorism site, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security's Ready.gov site. But a number of less visible government programs may be easier to visit directly.

 PREPARE.ORG (www.prepare.org)

This Red Cross site helps people with disabilities and other medical concerns, including those in wheelchairs or on life support, prepare for disasters and evacuations. It also offers tips for providing medical care to pets and service animals.


Provides information on local public-health preparedness initiatives; Project Public Health Ready ranks communities that have met certain emergency-preparedness criteria.


Offers tools to help states assess their own preparedness levels, including a list of steps to take before and after an emergency based on state health officials' experiences with the 9/11 and anthrax attacks. Co-sponsors a related site (statepublichealth.org) with links to sites of state health departments, immunization programs, and public-health hot lines, and information on preparing for hurricanes and other disasters.

 DISASTERHELP (disasterhelp.gov)

This federal site provides access to disaster-related information and services, and links to state emergency-management programs that include updates on current disasters such as wildfires and floods.

 MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS (medicalreservecorps.gov)

The corps consists of local teams of volunteer medical and public-health professionals prepared to serve during emergencies and work with federal responders. The site offers help finding or starting a local medical reserve group. Some local and state teams have their own sites with disaster-preparedness tips, such as the Oklahoma Medical Reserve site (okmrc.org/disaster/preparing.cfm15), which offers warnings on common mistakes made during disasters, and tips on assembling a disaster kit and recovering from a disaster.

 EMERGENCY MENTAL HEALTH AND TRAUMATIC STRESS (mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/emergencyservices)

The federal Center for Mental Health Services gives advice on talking about disasters and managing anxiety. It also has a locator for mental-health services to help you find local agencies by state.


This group coordinates with local mental-health services to provide aid in natural disasters, and helps coordinate services for communitywide mental-health needs in the aftermath of national emergencies. Links to local mental-health disaster-recovery programs and fact sheets, such as one to help teens recover from a traumatic event.

 CHILDREN & DISASTERS (aap.org/terrorism/index.html)

This site, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, has tips for parents, teachers and communities on children's medical and mental-health needs in disasters. It also has tip sheets for injury prevention.


Here you'll find resources for families of children with special health-care needs, including a disaster-preparation checklist and suggestions for a disaster supply kit.

 HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S. DISASTER CENTER (hsus.org/hsus_field/hsus_disaster_center)

This site has downloadable brochures with information to help plan for the safety and health of pets, horses and livestock before, during and after disasters.


This nonprofit group, sponsored by insurers and reinsurers, focuses mainly on protecting homes and businesses during disaster, but it also has personal safety tips, such as how to increase your chances of survival in an earthquake indoors, outdoors or while driving, and how to protect your family during a tornado, flood or wildfire.

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Last modified: December 31, 2004