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Be ready in an emergency

Douglas County Health and Human Services recognizes April 7-13 as National Public Health Week by sharing emergency preparedness tips.

Disaster preparedness starts with communitywide commitment and action. The Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services is here to help you weather the unexpected. Public health professionals help communities withstand the impact of natural or manmade disasters through planning and acting as a source of health and safety-related information during the crisis and helping to mitigate the long- and short-term effects.

“We take emergency preparedness and planning very seriously at Douglas County. As a member of the Western Wisconsin Public Health Readiness Consortium, we are on the leading edge of public health emergency planning and readiness in the State of Wisconsin,” said Katherine German-Olson RN, MSN, health officer for the Douglas County Public Health Department.

Emergencies and disasters come in a number of forms. Severe weather, fire, pandemic flu, chemical exposure, natural disasters and terrorist threats show the range of emergencies people could face. However, there are things that you can do to be prepared.

• Think about what emergencies you might face. House fires, severe weather, extended loss of power, and hazardous driving conditions are examples. What else might realistically cause an emergency where you live?

• Plan ahead: Take time to talk with your family, friends or other supports in your life. If you need a safe location to meet, where is that place? How will you maintain contact if separated? What are your back-up plans?

• Don’t forget about children, the elderly, people with functional needs, or pets when planning. Each of these groups may need special consideration and planning during an emergency.

• Create an emergency kit: Include enough bottled water, nonperishable food, medications and other necessary items to maintain each person for 72 hours. You may also want to think about having cash in your kit in the event ATMs or banks are not open. Flashlights, radio and batteries should also be included.

More information regarding planning and preparing at home can be found at

To learn more about public health efforts in Douglas County, call 715-395-1304 or visit