Do you have a plan? It’s National Preparedness Month

emergency preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The intent is to encourage communities to discuss emergency plans for their homes, schools, workplace, businesses, and places of worship (FEMA). It’s a great time for employers to review their emergency action plans. An emergency can present itself at any time and in many forms; assure emergency procedures are tested and understood by all employees and family members.

It is our responsibility to be prepared for ourselves and for each other. Nearly 70 percent of countries are unprepared to handle a serious public health emergency (The Lancet Global Health, July 2015). It is crucial to take a few minutes to go over emergency procedures. The procedures may vary depending on where you live, work, or go to school. Having an emergency plan in place will help prepare individuals for potentially disastrous events.

Tips for emergency planning:
• Set aside small amounts of money each month for an emergency fund
• Attend or plan an emergency preparedness meeting with your neighbors
• Understand what local hazards exist in your community and get informed about your community response systems and plans
• Build and maintain a kit of supplies that is ready in case of a disaster
• Make a family emergency communication plan
• There are free online resources that are available on emergency preparedness, on sites including: CDC Global Health, World Health Organization, Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and more.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers an Emergency Action Plan training course that covers emergency action plan development in the workplace. There is also a variety of resources related to emergency preparedness, focusing on: natural disaster response, Floods, Hurricanes, Tornados, Tsunamis, Emergency Preparedness for Businesses, and more, available in both English and Spanish. A safety video is also available on the topic of Emergency Planning, available in English and Spanish.

Prevent Foodborne Illness as Summer Draws to a Close

foodborne illness

The Federal government estimates about 1 in 6 Americans get sick with a foodborne illness, each year. This results in 48 million annual cases of foodborne illness (FDA, 01/07/16).

Food becomes prone to contaminants from behaviors that easily get overlooked, including a change in temperature and cross-contamination. Salmonella illness in particular is more common in the summer. Warmer temperatures and eating non-refrigerated food outdoors causes food to be prone to bacteria and Salmonella growth (CDC, 07/8/16).

Protect yourself and others from potential foodborne illness at barbeques and picnics by paying closer attention to how you handle and cook your food.

Grilling Safety
• Cook food thoroughly. Use a meat thermometer to make sure food reaches a proper internal temperature
• Do not let food sit on the grill in a partially cooked state. If foods need to be partially cooked before grilling, do so right before adding them to the grill
• Keep meats and food at 145°F or above after cooking
• Refrigerate or freeze leftovers, perishables, and other prepared foods within 2 hours (or 1 hour if it is at 90°F or above)

Appropriate internal temperatures for food:
• Beef, pork, lamb, veal steaks or roasts: 145° F
• Fish: 145° F
• Ground pork or beef: 160° F
• Poultry (breasts or whole poultry): 165° F
• Casseroles: 165° F

The Danger Zone
The danger zone for food is 40°F – 140°F. Food that stays within this temperature range for too long is at risk for bacteria growth.

Sanitation
• Wash hands before eating and preparing food
• Rinse fruit and vegetables and scrub items with firm skins
• Keep all eating surfaces, serving platters, and utensils clean
• Avoid cross-contamination. Never put cooked food on a surface that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
• Wrap raw meats securely
• Never reuse marinades

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a variety of safety documents related to foodborne illness and food safety including: Foodborne Illness – Buffets and Potlucks, Eating Outdoors, and Packing a Safe Lunch. A policy is also available for employees and employers who work in the food industry about Food Safety Program Requirements.