On Public Health Security - August 2017 - National Preparedness Month 2017: You Have the Power to Prepare

On Public Health Security - August 2017 - National Preparedness Month 2017: You Have the Power to Prepare

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On Public Health Security
August 2017
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Stephen C. Redd

Dear Partners,


We are well into 2017, and across the country there have been a number of disease outbreaks and emergencies. Some of these are well known, but others may not have made national headlines. Examples include an outbreak of Salmonella associated with papayas, an outbreak of Seoul Virus associated with rodents, and wildfires in multiple states. These events remind us of the importance of preparedness and being ready for whatever the next public health emergency may be. This September marks the 14th Annual National Preparedness Month, and CDC is proud to participate alongside 3,000 organizations to help ensure that individuals and communities across America are prepared for any public health emergency.


Our theme for National Preparedness Month, “You Have the Power to Prepare,” highlights how each one of us can take action to stay safe from disaster. Every week during National Preparedness month, CDC will release Public Health Matters blog posts, social media messages, and graphics.


  • Week 1: READY. Build a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. OPHPR will share short videos that demonstrate how to build emergency kits. In addition, our Public Health Matters blog will feature one volunteer’s experience with the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project, a program designed to educate children about preparedness.
  • Week 2: STEADY. Review plans. Update kits. Our office will offer tips about how to update emergency plans and kits, and our blog will feature the full-scale pediatric preparedness exercise that New York City recently completed with area hospitals.
  • Week 3: SHOW. Inspire others to prepare. Our key activity will be #SafeAndWellSelfie. We will ask our social media followers to share photos of themselves and their families at an emergency meeting place.To promote this event we’re starting a Thunderclap on September 15th, and supporters can sign up in advance to share a unified message through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Our blog will feature the New Orleans Evacuteer project which has used an artistic approach to ensure that no one is left behind in an emergency.
  • Week 4: GO! Take immediate action to save lives. Our key activity will be an interactive puzzle game entitled Evacuate the Room (modeled after the popular in-person escape the room) that will be broadcast live on Facebook. To promote this event we’re starting a Thunderclap on September 20th. Our blog will feature a firefighter’s experience responding to natural disasters and other emergencies.


Federal agencies will also come together in September to promote the fall PrepareAthon and the National Day of Action on September 15th. PrepareAthon is a nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.


Partner participation is vital to the success of this campaign. We encourage partners to share and promote our blogs, infographics, and events. We would also love to hear about what your organization is planning to do to celebrate National Preparedness Month! Please share any activities you have planned so we can work together to educate people about their power to prepare.


Thank you,


Stephen C. Redd, MD


Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Upcoming Events

The National Center for Disaster Medicine & Public Health (NCDMPH) is hosting a Crisis Leadership in Disasters Symposium on September 6th and a Disaster Health Education Symposium on September 7th, 2017, both in Bethesda, Maryland.

Work to address strategic public health issues at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) 2017 Policy Summit, Gala, and Annual Meeting in celebration of ASTHO’s 75th anniversary. The event will take place September 19th-21st in Washington, D.C.


Additional Resources

CDC recently released a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled "Update: Interim Guidance for Health Care Providers Caring for Pregnant Women with Possible Zika Virus Exposure—United States (Including U.S. Territories), July 2017."

CDC is offering a free, web-based training session on RealOpt©, a computer modeling program to help medical countermeasure (MCM) planners design point of dispensing (POD) sites and treatment clinics. It will take place September 19th, from 1-4PM EST, through CDC TRAIN.

Read our recent Public Health Matters blog post entitled "Predicting community resilience and recovery after a disaster," which highlights the COPEWELL project. This project brought together a team of experts to develop a mathematical model so community planners can identify the areas of community functioning that must be preserved throughout a disaster.