Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Earth, wind, and fire: Plan for health needs in emergencies

Image of Men in protective suits dousing a flame with water from a hose. Click to open a larger version of the image. Firefighter Mark Williams, Station 4, Camp Pendleton Fire Department, douses a simulated fire while conducting wild land fire refresher training 130 (WRT) at a mutual threat zone, April 16, 2018. The annual training, held every spring, revolves around a simulated wildfire that firefighters must work together to contain. After the drill, participants discussed which elements went well as well as areas for improvement to ensure readiness for the upcoming fire season. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kerstin Roberts)

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | MHS Toolkits and Branding Guidance | Disaster Prep Toolkit

The COVID-19 pandemic has kept people close to home so they can avoid the contagious virus. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a more active than normal hurricane season. It is also wildfire season for those living in the Western half of the United States. So now's the best time to prepare for health care needs if an emergency requires leaving home to seek safe shelter elsewhere.

The Atlantic hurricane season typically starts in June and goes through the end of November. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season usually runs from mid-May to the end of November. Already, there have been three named storms, including Cristobal.

NOAA predicts 13 to 19 named storms bringing heavy rain and wind. Six to 10 could become hurricanes, according to NOAA, including three to six major hurricanes. "Major" is defined as category 3, 4, or 5, with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

For those living in the Rocky Mountains, Texas, and the West Coast, wildfires are of particular concern. Peak season is from May through October. More wildfires occur in eastern and central states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center, or NIFC. Wildfires in the West are larger and burn more acreage, the NIFC said.

California's 2018 wildfire season was the most destructive on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, citing data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. In California alone, more than 7,500 fires burned nearly 1.7 million acres of land, damaged or destroyed over 23,000 structures, and caused 93 deaths.

Military personnel unloading equipment from a helicopter
In response of Hurricane Dorian, U.S. Army Soldiers unload equipment from a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter in the Bahamas, Sept. 9, 2019. In support of USAID's Foreign Disaster Relief efforts, DOD is bringing unique military capabilities to enable the broader response effort. (U.S Army photo by Spc. Jennily LeonRodriguez)

To prepare for emergencies, TRICARE experts recommend first signing up for disaster alerts. The alerts are sent via text and email. TRICARE will give updated information from federal agencies and departments, state and local governments, and the news and other media. TRICARE also will announce procedures for accessing emergency prescription refills, and the dates during which these procedures apply.

Recent events that led to disaster alerts included flooding in Michigan, in May; severe storms in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, in January; and wildfires in California, in October.

The TRICARE disaster information resource webpage offers additional advice for preparing for possible evacuation. Here are some tips:

  • Plan your exit. Identify a safe escape route as well as a place to shelter outside of the evacuation area. Make sure you share your plan with someone who lives outside of the affected area.
  • Make a list. This list should include your health care providers' names and contact information, medications with dosage and frequency, and type and model number of any medical devices you use.
  • Get it together. Gather immunization records, insurance paperwork, and medical documents in a waterproof container that’s easy to carry. Put together a basic first-aid kit, and make sure you have enough medication to cover your time away.
  • Be mindful of special needs. Those with chronic health conditions or issues with vision, hearing, or mobility should get medical alert tags or bracelets, and identify how they will arrange to get disaster warnings and find assistance to safety.

For those with pets, the U.S.Army Public Health Center publication Vet Connections recommends gathering an emergency kit that includes a two-week supply of pet food, water, and any medications. Make sure you have copies of vaccination and medical records as well.

Some emergency shelters will accept only service animals, the APHC notes, so it's a good idea to identify pet-friendly housing options outside of the evacuation area.

Make sure your pet's ID tags include your current contact information. You also may want to ask your veterinarian about getting your pet microchipped, the APHC says, in case you become separated during the emergency.

Another resource is the Federal Emergency Management Agency guide “Are You Ready.” The 200-page, in-depth guide offers information for people to protect themselves and their families in case of weather emergencies, wildfires, and other hazards.

You also may be interested in...

Summer Safety Campaign: Boating Safety

Video
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Campaign: Boating Safety

Follow these tips for a Safe Summer of Boating.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Boat Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Campaign: Driving Safety

Video
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Campaign: Driving Safety

Important tips to have a safe summer of driving

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Driving Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Campaign Fireworks Safety

Video
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Campaign Fireworks Safety

Follow these tips for a Safe Summer with Fireworks

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Fireworks Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Campaign: Grilling Safety

Video
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Campaign: Grilling Safety

Important tips for a Safe Summer behind the grill.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Food Handling & Grilling | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Main

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Main

Main Summer Safety Graphic

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Summer Safety - Bug Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Bug Safety

No matter where you live or work in the world, stinging and biting insects and other pests are always nearby. Some are native to their current surroundings while others were imported, either intentionally or accidentally. Some insects which were imported have no local predators and their populations skyrocket. Be sure to protect yourself and your family against bites.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Bug Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Driving Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Driving Safety

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. When you’re behind the wheel of a car – whether alone or with passengers – driving safely should always be your top concern. We’re more distracted than ever, so it’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Driving Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Boat Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Boat Safety

Sadly, when operating a boat, the possibility of injuries and fatalities are very real. It is important to know your boat and where you’re headed on your trip.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Boat Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Bicycle Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Bicycle Safety

As you might expect, when a crash occurs between a vehicle and a bike, it’s the cyclist most likely to be injured. Here are some tips on how you can prevent bicycle injuries and deaths, and remember: A large percentage of crashes can be avoided if motorists and cyclists follow the rules of the road and watch out for each other.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Bicycling Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety Banner

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety Banner

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Swimming Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Swimming Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more children (1 in 4) die from drowning than any other cause of death except birth defects. For children between the ages of 1-14, drowning is the second cause of unintentional injury death, after motor vehicle crashes. Don’t be a statistic!

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Swimming Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Heat Injuries

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Heat Injuries

Heat illnesses and injuries are no fun! What is heat-related illness? Heat-related illness, or hyperthermia, is a condition resulting from exposure to extreme heat where the body becomes unable to properly cool, resulting in a rapid rise in body temperature. The evaporation of sweat is the normal way to remove body heat, but, when the humidity is high, sweat does not evaporate as quickly. This, in turn, prevents the body from releasing heat quickly. Prompt treatment of heat-related illnesses with aggressive fluid replacement and cooling of core body temperature is critical to reducing illness and preventing death. Be safe when taking part in outside activities and remember to hydrate!

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Heat Injuries | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety - Firework Safety

Infographic
5/5/2022
Summer Safety - Firework Safety

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades, and fireworks. The National Safety Council advises everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals and not to use any fireworks at home. They may be legal but they are not always safe.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Fireworks Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Military Health System offers help before and after natural disasters

Article
9/17/2021
Picture of a helicopter

Military Health System personnel respond to a variety of natural disasters at home and aboard.

Recommended Content:

Disaster Prep Toolkit | Emergency Preparedness and Response

Gearing Up: SERE Instructor Gives Tips for Hitting the Trail This Fall

Article
9/8/2021
Marines in civilian clothes hiking in mountains.

SERE instructor and Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Apolo Silva talks about some of the key things to keep in mind, as well as precautions you should take, before and during heading out into the wilderness this fall.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 10

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.