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Emergency Preparedness: Community Officials Advice
During an emergency, authorities may make “common-good” decisions to limit
the spread of disease in a community or a nation. For the good of everyone, it is important to comply with these decisions. Authorities may need to:
• Close schools
• Close businesses
• Ask that everyone follow certain hygiene steps
• Limit public gatherings and events where people come into close contact
• Request that everyone stay home for a certain period of time
• Limit travel, either into or out of the area

During a public health emergency such as a terrorist attack or an infectious
disease outbreak, Iowa may need access to large amounts of medicine and medical supplies. The Iowa Department of Public Health and Dickinson County Public Health and other agencies have plans to receive and distribute medications and supplies to communities as quickly as possible. If supplies are needed in Iowa, they should usually be delivered within one day. If medication or a vaccine is necessary for preventing or controlling the spread of an infectious disease, you may get information from public health officials on how to protect you and your loved ones by watching TV, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, or checking community web sites such as this web site.

Decontamination, quarantine, and isolation are important tools for authorities
during an emergency depending on the type of emergency, as they can help slow the spread of an outbreak.

If individuals are exposed to biological or chemical agents or radioactive material,
they may need to be decontaminated. Decontamination is like taking a shower, washing from head to toe with soap and water. Almost 90% of the contamination can be removed by simply taking your clothes off. Decontamination is an easy, three-step process:
1. Remove contaminated clothing.
2. Wash body.
3. Cover body with replacement clothing.

Quarantine means that people exposed to a disease are kept apart from others,
since they may be infected. They may need to stay at home or in a special facility for several days. The goal is to avoid the accidental spread of disease, whether or not a person has symptoms.

Isolation means people known to be infected are kept alone, possibly in a hospital
or other facility, to stop the spread of infection to others. The person can get specialized care in isolation and avoid infecting others who are healthy.

You Can Help!
Consider volunteering with a local organization to help out in emergency
situations. You could help by:
• Planning a telephone tree to share information among people
• Create a local map of key available services
• Organize assistance for people with special needs
• Gather supplies for neighbors or other community members
• Consider donating blood if it is needed


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