What steps is a person taking to be prepared for disasters and emergencies? This September, join the Federal Emergency Management Agency during National Preparedness Month in preparing for disasters and emergencies.
National Preparedness Month is an annual opportunity to reinforce the message that taking a few simple steps can go a long way in being ready for all kinds of hazards that are common to one’s region, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, fires, and more.
Preparedness is for everyone, but this year’s National Preparedness Month campaign is focused specifically on preparing older adults and their caregivers. Older adults may have specific needs after a disaster. According to the American Association of Retired People, several factors make older adults more vulnerable to the impacts of disasters, which include, but are not limited to increased likelihood of mobility difficulties, increased lack of access to cell phones and internet access and an increased lack of financial means to prepare or relocate.
“A growing body of evidence shows that older adults are disproportionately impacted by weather-related emergencies and natural disasters,” said MaryAnn Tierney, FEMA Region 3 regional administrator. “Now is the time to consider what you can do to be prepared, or help a friend, neighbor, or loved one take steps to get prepared too.”
FEMA’s Ready campaign has resources, including simple, low-cost tips, to help older adults and their caregivers address these challenges. Some of these tips include:
- Plan for transportation if a person needs help evacuating.
- Include items that meet one’s individual needs, such as medicines, medical supplies, batteries and chargers, in an emergency supply kit. Make copiesof Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurance cards.
- Make sure at least one person in one’s support network has an extra key to the home, knows where one keeps emergency supplies, and knows how to use lifesaving equipment or administer medicine.
- If a person undergoes routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
- If a person has a communication disability, consider carrying printed cards or storing information on one’s devices to inform first responders and others how to communicate with a person.
- Don’t forget one’s pets or service animals. Not all shelters accept pets, so plan for alternatives. Consider asking loved ones or friends outside of one’s immediate area if they can help with the animals.