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Disaster Plan

Be Ready the Next Time Disaster Strikes

Californians are too familiar with disasters. Wildfires, floods, mudslides, and earthquakes are all part of living in California

The Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks California as the second-most disaster-prone state after Texas with 336 major disasters between 1953 and 2020. That includes the 2020 wildfires that burned more than 4 million acres.

Everyone needs to have a plan for coping with an emergency. In some cases — like wildfires, floods, and storms — you have a little time to prepare. Disasters like earthquakes can strike without warning.

Here are some important ways you can be ready.

Woman Preparing Emergency Medications

First-Aid Kits

Every household should have one. If not, start putting one together. You can buy some kits pre-assembled. You can also buy what you need piece by piece. Regardless of how you do it, remember it’s for emergencies. Try not to use the contents unless there is an emergency, otherwise you might not have what you need when disaster occurs.

Basics should include:
 

  • Two pairs of sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings
  • Soap and antibiotic towelettes for disinfecting
  • Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
  • Bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash
  • Thermometer
  • Medicine dropper
  • First-aid book
  • Pain reliever, antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, laxatives or other over the counter drugs
Woman Shopping Bottled Water

Earthquake preparations

The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens. It’s best to prepare ahead of time, especially for earthquakes, given their unpredictability. Part of those preparations should include a communications plan. Make sure there is an out-of-state contact you can alert. You should also plan where to meet if you are separated from family.

In addition to a first-aid kit, your supply kit should have a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food for several days, a flashlight, fire extinguisher, and a whistle.

Buying all these items at once can be expensive, so buy them over time and put them in a durable bag or plastic bin that’s easy to access.

If you are in an earthquake, you should:
 

  • Pull over if driving and set your parking brake.
  • Turn face down and cover your neck and head with a pillow if you’re in bed.
  • Stay outdoors if that’s where you are and get away from buildings.
  • Make sure to avoid doorways if you’re inside during an earthquake. Don’t run outside. Crawl under a table if possible.
Kit Emergency Prep

More Emergency Kit Musts

Having emergency kit items in your house is good. Assembling them in a kit is better. Putting items in airtight plastic bags and putting those bags in a storage bin or duffel bag is the best.

A disaster could leave you without power, water, or cellular service. You will need to be self-sufficient for several days. So, have:
 

  • Water — at least three gallons per person
  • Food — three days of non-perishable energy bars, canned fruit, canned juices, comfort snacks
  • Extra doses of medications that your family regularly needs
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • A weather radio with tone alerts
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Dust masks
  • Plastic sheets and duct tape
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, and hygiene products
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Portable cell phone chargers and backup batteries

Always Here for You

AltaMed is here for you regardless of the circumstances. We provide primary care, urgent care, behavioral health servicespediatrics, dentistry, health screenings, women’s health, and much more.

Call (877) 462-2582 and get started with us today.

 
 

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Emergency Kit

Don’t Be Caught Unprepared: What Goes in an Emergency Kit

Californians are no stranger to emergencies. From earthquakes to wildfires, flash floods to landslides, there’s plenty of reasons to be thinking ahead. Building an emergency kit is a great way to be prepared if disaster strikes. Follow the suggestions below to keep you and your family ready for anything.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

The first item in any good emergency kit is a First Aid Kit, which can help treat cuts, scrapes, splinters, or other minor abrasions. Many kits come with a variety of bandages, sterilized gauze, eye drops, tweezers, gloves, antiseptic wipes, and cleaning ointments like Neosporin. You can buy one pre-made at your local drug store or online, or you can purchase the individual items yourself.

Water

Bottles of Water

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends families keep at least one gallon of water per person per day, for at least three days. That means a family of four should have twelve gallons stored away. In addition to staying hydrated, water can be used for sanitation needs.

Canned Foods Can Opener

Different Canned Foods

It’s also important to maintain a three-day supply of non-perishable foods. Canned meats, vegetables, and fruits are recommended, as well as foods like granola bars or peanut butter. Make sure you have an old-fashioned, hand-held can opener as well, since your power may go out. Remember to check your emergency kit once a year and replace any expired goods.

Flashlight & Batteries

Flashlight On

In the event of a power outage, a flashlight will help you and your family safely navigate the area. You can also use it to alert rescuers to your location. Consider packing one flashlight per adult and be sure to add batteries as well.

Dust Mask

Face Mask

FEMA suggests at least one dust mask for every member of your family. These masks will help filter contaminated air in the event of disasters such as wildfires or earthquakes. Keeping smoke, ash, or other hazards particles out of your lungs is extremely important for your long-term health.

Medications

Medications

If you or a loved one suffers from a medical condition requiring prescription medication, injections, or epi-pens, it’s essential to set aside a small amount in your emergency kit. The American Red Cross recommends at least seven days’ worth of supplies. Over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin or Tylenol will also come in handy.

Multi-Purpose Tool

Multi Purpose Tool

A multi-purpose tool is another worthwhile investment for your emergency kit. Pliers, for example, can be used to turn off utilities before you leave your home. Many of these tools also contain essentials like can openers and screwdrivers. Best of all, these tools take up less space than if you packed all the items separately.

Extra Chargers

Cell Phone Charging with Portable Charger

An extra charger will definitely be useful during any emergency. Like flashlights, add one charger for every adult with a cell phone. Be sure to update chargers as you change devices.

Blankets

Red and Green Folded Blankets

One to two warm, durable blankets are recommended by the Red Cross to use for protection against outdoor exposure. You can also use sturdy blankets and some duct tape to build a makeshift shelter.

Whistle

Silver Whistle

Whistles are an easy, effective way to alert rescuers to your location. Because they’re so small, adding multiple whistles to your emergency kit is a no-brainer. 

Tips for Kit Maintenance

Once you’ve finished assembling your emergency kit, remember to:
 

  • Keep your kit in a cool, dry place. This will help canned goods stay fresh.  
  • Check expiration dates on food and medicine every six months.
  • Review your supplies every year. Has your family grown? Have your needs changed? Adjusting your supplies on a regular basis will help you stay ready for anything. 

Your Emergency Checklist, Compliments of AltaMed

When disaster strikes, we want you to be ready for it. Print out the following checklist and use it to prepare an emergency kit. We hope it doesn't happen, but in the event of an emergency, you can’t be too prepared. 

AltaMed Emergency Kit Checklist
 

  • Batteries
  • Blankets
  • Canned Foods
  • Can Opener
  • Duct Tape
  • Dust Masks
  • Extra Chargers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Water
  • Medications
  • Multi-Purpose Tool
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Mental Health

Tips for Staying Mentally Healthy Through Trying Times

People have been struggling to cope with some form of fear, grief, or anxiety for more than 20 months. Stress has become the “new normal.”

This time last year we were preparing to spend our holidays apart from loved ones as isolation was the practice during the first year of the pandemic. Now we have vaccines that have provided us greater freedom to gather. Still misinformation and political wrangling have kept us from putting COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors. It’s just something else to add to our stress and anxiety.

It’s important that we acknowledge our stress and deal with it in a healthy manor. Just like it’s important to get vaccinated and take precautions to put an end to the pandemic, it’s important to address any mental health concerns and change behaviors that may have sent you down a path toward depression.

Defining Mental Illness

The term mental illness is used to describe a broad range of conditions that vary from mild to moderate to severe. It is extremely common affecting one in five U.S. adults, in 2019. That is the most recent figure available. That figure is probably much higher now since the start of the pandemic.

Mental illness falls into two categories: any mental illness (AMI) and severe mental illness (SMI). AMI can literally be any mental condition that affects your mood, thinking, or behavior. They include depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. SMIs are similar but they drastically affect a person’s ability to function normally.

Woman With Face Mask Thinking

Making Things Worse

The pandemic has only made mental health a bigger issue in the last 20 months. As creatures of habit, we were thrown for a loop as we lost the routine, dependability, and stability of our daily lives once the pandemic started.

The forced isolation, the onslaught of bad news, and the loss of jobs, income, and lives were almost like something out of a dystopian film. Stress became our new normal. Left untreated,
stress can cause:
 

  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feelings of anger, fear, frustration, sadness, and worry
  • Physical reactions like headaches, body aches, stomach problems, and rashes
  • Worsening chronic health problems
  • Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances
The Therapist Takes Notes from the Patient

Acknowledge You Need Help

Far too many of us have been trained to ignore these feelings. We’re taught to fight through, keep your chin up, or just to get over it.

It doesn’t work that way. It’s important to acknowledge that you may need help to get over a mental health hurdle. That’s OK. Too many people don’t get treatment however because of the stigma around mental illness and treating it.

It can lead to discrimination at work, in school, or in social activities. Family, friends, and co-workers don’t fully understand what’s going on. You might start to think that you won’t succeed, or you begin to define yourself by your feelings. You should never let that stigma keep you from seeking treatment, however.

Worried Adult Couple Sitting on Sofa

Getting Past the Stigma

Stigma can be overcome. Just like you wouldn’t deal with a mental illness alone, you have resources to help you get past the stigma. They include:
 

  • Getting treatment. It’s only through treatment that you can identify what’s wrong and then find solutions for reducing the symptoms that are interfering with your life.
  • Not giving into shame. You are not weak. People often need help when dealing with mental health concerns. Connecting with others can help boost your self-esteem and get past destructive self-judgment.
  • Not isolating yourself. It’s important to reach out to people you trust. They might be hard to find at first, but there are caring and compassionate people who have been through similar struggles. They can offer you support if you confide in them.
  • Not identifying with your illness. You have an illness. You are NOT your illness. You may have bipolar disorder, or you may have schizophrenia. You are not bipolar, and you are not a schizophrenic.
  • Joining a support group. You can talk with a physician or counselor to find local programs or internet groups that can educate people about your condition. This offers support for you and helps to educate others.
  • Getting help at school. If your child is dealing with mental health issues it is illegal for the school NOT to accommodate them. Educators at every level, from elementary through college must make adjustments for children to the best of their abilities. Not doing so can lead to civil or criminal penalties.
  • Speaking out. Giving your voice to fighting the stigma against mental illness will boost your confidence and the confidence of others.

Help for the Mind and Body

It’s natural to feel worried, sadness, and loneliness from time to time. But if these feelings start to interfere with your ability to get through your daily life or start making you feel bad physically, it may be time to ask for help. To learn more about AltaMed’s Behavioral Health Services, call us at (855) 425-1777.

If you have suicidal thoughts and feel like you could be a harm to yourself or others, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.

Be Ready the Next Time Disaster Strikes