Lead by Example
Be a preparedness role model for your family and in your community. Modeling healthy choices and habits, like getting a seasonal flu shot and effective handwashing, can persuade family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to adopt similar behaviors. Learn how to inspire others in your community. You never know who’s watching.
- Children like to help. Involve them in gathering emergency supplies and in learning practical skills, such as effective handwashing and how to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Practice everyday preventative actions, that can help slow the spread of germs:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or inside of your elbow) when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Wash your hands often—especially at key times when you are likely to get and spread germs—with soap and water
- Get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in your community. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a vaccine every season with rare exception. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October.
- Give blood. Blood donationsexternal icon save lives; in fact, just one can save up to 3 lives.
- Test your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms once a month, and change the batteries in detectors and alarms twice a year—at the beginning and end of Daylight Saving Time.
- Update your emergency supplies every 6 months and as the personal needs of your family change. Remove, use, and replace any food and water, prescription medications, and supplies before they expire.
- Make periodic checks on neighbors–especially those who are elderly, live alone or with a disability, or depend on a home use medical device. Stop by to ask if they have enough supplies and to check that their home or apartment is adequately heated in winter and cooled in summer.
- Schedule an annual “Brown Bag Review” of your prescription medications with your doctor to discuss the medicines you take, how and when to take them, and what to do in a public health emergency.
- Check the pressure gauge on your fire extinguisherexternal icon every month to make sure that it’s charged. Replace your single-use extinguisher after use or every 10 to 12 years, unless the manufacturer notes an earlier expiration date.
- Test drive your emergency (e.g., hurricane and tsunami) evacuation route at the start of every season to identify gas stations, road work and detours, hospitals, urgent cares, veterinarians, etc. along the way.
- Keep an emergency supplies kit in your car(s) in case of a roadside trouble or something worse (e.g., you’re stranded in a winter storm). Be prepared with personal needs, including food, water, and a first aid kit, a car charger for your cellphone, a flashlight, jumper cables, and an emergency hammer and seat belt cutter. In hurricane season, it’s also important to keep a half a tank or more of gas in your car.
- Review, rehearse, and revise your family’s Emergency Action Plan every six months or as necessary. Update your plan whenever your family moves, your child changes schools, or you change jobs or phone numbers, have a child, or experience some other significant life event.