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Today is May 6

National Nurses Day

Simple ways to thank local nurses

Nurses have long been unsung heroes of the medical community. But that tide began to turn in 2020 as the world confronted the COVID-19 pandemic and realized just how invaluable nurses are to public health.

According to the American Nurses Association, nearly 400 nurses in the United States died as a result of COVID-19 within eight months of a pandemic being declared in America. Globally, data from the International Council of Nurses indicated that roughly 1,500 nurses lost their lives to COVID-19 by the end of October 2020.

That data is sobering and serves as a reminder that nurses put their lives on the line each day they go to work. Such sacrifices are worthy of widespread support, and there are many ways ordinary citizens can thank nurses working in their communities.

  • Support efforts to protect nurses. Despite widespread recognition of how vital they are to public health, nurses still may not have unbridled access to personal protective equipment (PPE). An ANA survey of nurses working in various health care settings conducted in fall 2020 found that 42 percent of nurses indicated they were still experiencing widespread or intermittent PPE shortages. In fact, more than half of the 21,000-plus nurses surveyed reported that they were forced to re-use single-use PPE, a practice they said makes them feel unsafe. The public can do its part by urging local lawmakers to support legislation that increases domestic production of PPE so the brave men and women in the nursing profession can feel safe when doing their jobs.
  • Give nurses and their families a night off from cooking. Long shifts in stressful situations have taken a toll on nurses and their families. Neighbors can pitch in by offering to cook and deliver meals or pay for takeout for nurses and their families. This simple gesture can provide a much-needed break for nurses and their spouses who have been stretched thin during the pandemic, and it’s a great way to remind nurses their heroic efforts are not going unnoticed.
  • Help out with chores. Before going to the grocery store, text or call a friend or neighbor in the nursing field to see if he or she needs anything from the store. If nurses shop online for their groceries, arrange to pick them up so nurses can spend more time relaxing at home with their families. During warm weather seasons, offer to mow the lawn or help with leaf pickup.
  • Offer discounts to nurses in your community. Local business owners can do their part by offering discounts to nurses and other health care professionals in their communities. A 10 percent discount on a restaurant bill or a nursing discount on a fresh bouquet of flowers can lift nurses’ spirits and reassure them that their communities are behind them.

Nurses have made immeasurable sacrifices throughout the pandemic. Communities can come together in various and often simple ways to show nurses just how much those sacrifices are appreciated.

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Hurricane Preparedness Week

Get a head-start on hurricane season

Hurricanes pose significant challenges. Such challenges are considerably less difficult when business owners and families prepare for hurricane season in advance.

A proactive approach to hurricane season can minimize the effects of these powerful storms, which can cause potentially costly property damage. Such preparation also reduces the likelihood that individuals will be involved in accidents and/or suffer injuries.

Hurricane season is on the horizon, so now is a great time for business owners and families to prepare for the months ahead.

Evacuation plan

Coastal regions tend to bear the brunt of damage caused by hurricanes, so anyone working and living in such areas should have a well-developed evacuation plan in place as hurricane season begins. Lifelong residents of coastal regions most often affected by hurricanes, which in the United States includes Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, and Louisiana as well as other areas along the Atlantic coast, no doubt have evacuation plans in place already. However, it’s a good idea to go over such plans with employees and family members at the start of each new hurricane season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, while the Eastern Pacific season begins roughly two weeks earlier and ends at the same time.

The opening weeks of May is a great time to develop an evacuation plan and/or go over an existing plan. Make a list of accessible hotels and shelters where you can go should you need to evacuate, and make sure everyone has a hard copy of that list. Keeping the list on a smartphone notes app can be helpful, but hard copies are vital, as access to mobile networks or even electricity to keep phones charged is not guaranteed during hurricanes. Detailed information about routes to take to get to safety and a prearranged place to meet if evacuation also is vital.

Supplies

The Insurance Information Institute notes that, when hurricanes are in the forecast and warnings are issued, it’s not uncommon for residents of areas in the eye of the storm to rush to stores to purchase supplies. A proactive approach to hurricane preparation can help people avoid that mad rush. The III recommends people stock up on certain supplies in advance of hurricane season. Such supplies include:

  • Extra batteries
  • Candles or lamps with fuel
  • Matches, which should be kept in a part of the home that’s likely to remain accessible and dry
  • Materials and tools for emergency home repairs, such as heavy plastic sheeting, plywood, a hammer, and other tools
  • Prescription drugs
  • A three-day supply of drinking water
  • Food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook
  • First aid supplies
  • A portable NOAA weather radio
  • A wrench and other basic tools
  • A flashlight

Property

It’s also wise for business owners and homeowners in coastal areas to take an annual inventory of their belongings in advance of hurricane season. The III notes that such an inventory, which should include a list of possessions and their respective values, can speed up the claims process, substantiate losses for income tax purposes and prove helpful if business owners or homeowners apply for disaster aid.

Hurricane season is coming. That means now is the time to prepare businesses and homes for the challenges that hurricanes can leave in their wake.