CDC Emergency Partners - Stay Safe After a Disaster

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


September 25, 2017 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated to support the local, state, and federal response to public health needs in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Updated Hurricane Key Messages

Key message cover page Sept 21

Use these key messages, available in English and Spanish, to share important safety information with your readers, as well as your friends and family. Feel free to copy and paste the information, links, and images into your newsletters, emails, and social media posts.

These key messages were updated September 22, 2017. Updates are in bold blue font. Some of the key updates include:

  • If you have a breathing problem like asthma, a weakened immune system, or are pregnant, try not to enter a building with mold damage.
  • Before you enter a building with mold damage, wear at least a NIOSH-approved N-95 respirator, which you can buy at a home supply store.
  • When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector.


Keep Out of Flood Waters

Flooded street with trees and signposts


The initial damage caused by a flood is not the only risk. Standing flood waters can also spread infectious diseases, bring chemical hazards, and cause injuries. Do not drink flood water, or use it to wash dishes, brush teeth, or wash/prepare food. Drink clean, safe water such as bottled water or boiled water. After you return home, if you find that your home was flooded, practice safe cleaning. Remove and throw out drywall and insulation that was contaminated with flood water or sewage. Throw out items that cannot be washed and cleaned with a bleach solution such as mattresses, pillows, carpeting, carpet padding, and stuffed toys.

Coping with a Disaster

Man looking worried, destroyed building in background


Stress, worry, and fear are common responses during and after a disaster. Pay attention to how you and your family members are feeling. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Following these tips can help you and your loved ones cope with an emergency.

  • Stay informed: When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or anxious. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis. Turn to reliable sources of information
  • Take care of your body: Eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid drugs and alcohol. Learn more about wellness strategies for mental health.
  • Take breaks: Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Take breaks from watching, listening to, or reading news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life and check for updates between breaks.
  • Connect with others: Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and build a strong support system.
  • Seek help when needed: If distress is impacting activities of your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a faith leader, counselor, or doctor or contact the SAMHSA helpline. Call 1-800-985-5990; TTY for deaf/hearing impaired: 1-800-846-8517 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. For Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands text Háblanos or call 212-461-4635