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Disaster & Disease Preparedness

There is no way to predict serious emergencies or when they will occur. Regardless of the cause, proactive emergency planning and implementation by as many community members as possible will help to ensure the community's safety and security.

  • Challenges & Preparation

    Preparation planning includes an effort at forecasting events. A disaster or disease outbreak might be local, national or worldwide. It could be of short or long duration. We need to think about how to prepare for loss of our power sources and modes of transportation as well as for the lack of everyday goods and services. Social distancing – preventing disease transmission by avoiding large groups of people in schools, social events, worship services, etc. – might also become a necessity.

    In order for a plan to be comprehensive, it must include preparing for all foreseeable eventualities. To help with that process, please review the Emergency Response Planning Checklists.

  • Things to Consider

    • Plan for disruption of services. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities, banks, stores, restaurants, government buildings and post offices may be closed.
    • Utilities, including phone, cable and Internet access may be affected.
    • Prepare backup plans for regularly scheduled meetings or gatherings.
    • Consider how to care for people with special needs if the services they rely on are not available.
    • Schools and universities may be closed for extended periods of time.
    • Evacuating and closing the university may be necessary in the event of disruption of services and utilities or to prevent the spread of disease.
    • Duration of the closure will vary, depending upon the magnitude of the emergency. Students need to discuss this with their families and agree upon a plan.
    • Transportation services may be disrupted.
      • This is especially important for students who are far from home.
      • Prepare a backup plan for taking care of loved ones who are far away.
      • Consider alternate transportation, as well as the possibility of working or learning from home.
      • For those who live off campus, it is important to have plenty of food and supplies on hand. (The current recommendation is a two- to four-week supply of food and drinking water).
  • Advice & Help

    • Think about what you need to know if you are a parent, employee or student. You may need to have in hand information about insurance, leave policies, working from home, possible loss of income, and what to do about work if you become ill.
    • Meet with colleagues and your family and make lists of things you need to know and actions you may take.
    • Find volunteers who want to help people in need, such as elderly neighbors, single parents of small children, and/or people without the resources to get the medical help they need.
    • Identify other information resources in your community.
    • Find support systems – people who are dealing with the issues that concern you. Share ideas.
  • Be Prepared & Stay Healthy

    Be Prepared

    • During an emergency you may not be able to shop, or stores may be out of supplies. Public water service may be interrupted. Have food and water on hand. Store foods that...
      • are nonperishable and don't require refrigeration;
      • are easy to prepare in case you are unable to cook;
      • require little or no water, allowing you to conserve water for drinking. The Whitworth community will assure a two-week supply of food and water for students who cannot go home.

    Stay Healthy

    • It is always a good idea to practice good health habits.
    • Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish and beans. Drink lots of water and go easy on salt, sugar, alcohol and saturated fat.
    • Exercise on a regular basis and get plenty of rest.
    • Deal with stressful situations as they occur.
    • Express emotions appropriately.
    • Make sure your and your family's immunizations are current.
    • Get a flu shot to protect you from seasonal flu. If the emergency is infectious disease, you will be better able to resist if you are not already ill.
    • If you are over 65 or if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or asthma, get a pneumonia shot to prevent secondary infection. For specific guidelines, talk to your healthcare provider or call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hotline at 800.232.4636.

    Get Informed

    There is much misinformation in media content. Knowing the facts is the best preparation for disaster. Identify sources you can count on for reliable information. In any emergency, accurate and reliable information will be critical. Such information is available at the following websites: