A Healthy Community is a Prepared Community

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What does a prepared community look like?

As communities look at how to prepare for the next emergency, they usually focus on stockpiling emergency supplies, having clear alert networks and ways to communicate with the public, and designating evacuation routes and shelter locations. While all of these are key aspects of emergency planning, one area of preparedness that is often overlooked is community health. Community Health is a term used to describe the state of health and how easy or difficult it is to be healthy where people live, learn, work and play. The health of a community, including ease of access to medical care and community resources available for exercise and encouraging healthy habits, is an important part of emergency planning that can have a positive impact on a community before, during, and after a public health emergency.

What is a Healthy Community?

Woman Selling Fresh Cheese At Farmers Food MarketA healthy community is one in which local groups from all parts of the community work together to prevent disease and make healthy living options accessible. Working at the community level to promote healthy living brings the greatest health benefits to the greatest number of people. It also helps to reduce health gaps caused by differences in income, education, race and ethnicity, location and other factors that can affect health. Healthy communities commonly have high vaccination rates to protect citizens from diseases and easy access to medical care and healthy food; are designed for healthy living at home, work, and school; and provide good mental health resources. Often, this also means it is safe and easy to walk, bike, and play in parks and community spaces.

How is a Healthy Community Better Prepared?

Communities that have good health resources in place and healthy community members can often recover after a disaster more quickly and with less negative health issues. Individuals who are in good physical shape, have proper vaccinations, have access to clinical services and medications, and know where to get critical health and emergency alert information, can better recover from a disaster and are more likely to be able to contribute to a community’s recovery efforts. After a natural disaster people may be displaced or may be gathered or taking shelter in crowded group settings. When there is a large number of people gathering or living in these crowded areas, it is imperative that people are up-to-date on their vaccinations in order to reduce the spread of disease.Nurse talking to mother and daughter

Unhealthy communities often have a large number of individuals that are more vulnerable before, during, and after a disaster. Factors that lead to poor health in communities such as high rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, limited access to general medical care, and low levels of health education, can cause substantial difficulties for a community recovering from an emergency event. Gaps in medical care can increase significantly after a disaster due to physical damage to health care facilities or from a large increase in the number of people who need medical attention. People who already have poor health are usually more susceptible to disease during a public health emergency and cannot get the normal day-to-day medical care they need.

Make Your Community Healthy and Prepared

People passing sand bags down a line to prepare for a hurricaneYou can help improve the health of your community by taking a look at your health and the health of your family. Take actions to ensure that you are as healthy as possible. Before an emergency, if you eat well, get regular checkups and vaccinations, and are physically active, your body will be better able to handle the stress and physical demands of recovering from a disaster. Washing your hands regularly can also help reduce your chances of getting sick during and after an emergency.

Help promote health in your community by becoming more engaged in your community. Encourage local community groups and government organizations to consider community health in their emergency preparedness plans. Take action to improve your community’s health now to ensure you are better prepared to remain healthy when an emergency occurs.

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8 comments on “A Healthy Community is a Prepared Community”

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    Living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining healthy habits is disaster prepare kit in it self. Most people think and often we teach that preparing for an emergency it is essential have “emergency items” such as flashlights and blankets, and water. These items are very important as essential needs to sustain life include, nutrition, shelter and water. In the event of an emergency, having a healthy life style gives you an advantage to sustaining life as no one can truly predict exactly how an emergency event will affect them or their immediate environment. Elders are typically the most affected by disasters due to often their health status. Encouraging things such as eating nutritious meals so that your body has sufficient nutrient stores, and performing physical activities to promote physical health and limit the needs of medications and additional assistance that may be very limited in event of emergency is important. Having healthy habits builds a stronger you, building stronger immune systems and fighting infection that can rise to very high level during emergencies as many situations force persons to live in close quarters such as shelters. Helping yourself also helps others!

    Vaccinations provide an important defense against disease and infection for both the young and the old. Additionally, a sound vaccination protocol helps protect the general public from a possible outbreak occurring. The possibility of an epidemic re-occurring is a real and legitimate concern, so continued vaccination of the general public is necessary. The health benefits that a proactive vaccination schedule provides for children and the society in which they live far outweighs the potential risk associated with vaccinations; therefore, childhood vaccinations should be administered to every child on a regular schedule.

    I solely love the idea of a community coming together to prepare for and work through disease and infection epidemics, as well as injury or disaster incidences. The people are the heart of the community and working together to achieve the same purpose speaks volumes of the community’s residents. Disease prevention and health promotion are important aspects in maintaining the health of the community. Each individual resident plays a personal role in promoting community health. This is achieved when residents exercise 3-4 times a week, eat a nutritious and balanced diet, get adequate amounts of rest and sleep, and stay up-to-date on vaccinations and immunizations. Promoting and maintaining a healthy community is everybody’s business and the responsibility of every individual living in it.

    Consuming healthy meals, vaccinating your children, and devising an exercise plan are all steps that can help in improving the health of the community. Vaccinations are necessary in order to protect the youth and the community as a whole. There are health clinics located in many communities to ensure that every child can be vaccinated or immunized no matter what their income is.


    This was great! Can’t wait for your upcoming content! What have you got planned for us?

    It is interesting to note that everyone in the population has a part to play in community health. The health of a community rests not only on the government and policy makers but also on the community workers.
    Healthy communities recover well because the roles and responsibilities of the community health worker are at play and well followed. The income,race,education or location of individuals is not a stumbling block to getting proper and good health services and resources.

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Page last reviewed: July 9, 2020
Page last updated: July 9, 2020