Disaster Preparedness for Seniors

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in 2017 (as of October 6) there have been 15 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. Overall, these natural disasters have resulted in over 280 deaths. Disaster preparedness is important for all of us and especially for seniors who may be particularly vulnerable during these types of major events including hurricanes, storms, tornadoes, and wildfires.

Make a Kit

Preparing an emergency kit is the first step in disaster preparedness. FEMA suggests two kits: one which holds necessary items if you will stay in the home for a period of time, and one which you can easily take with you in the event of an evacuation. Basic emergency supplies include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day;
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener;
  • Week-long supply of prescription medicines and a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies;
  • Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries;
  • Flashlight with extra batteries;
  • Whistle to signal for help;
  • Mask to filter out harmful dust or contaminated air;
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and ties for personal sanitation;
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities;
  • Extra food, water, and supplies for pets.


Make a Plan

  • Create a personal support network. Make a list of family, friends, and neighbors who can provide assistance if you should need it. Talk to these people and ask them if they can be a part of your plan. Share your plan with them.
  • Develop a family communication plan. Designate the same person for each family member to call to communicate your status in the event of an emergency. This designated person should live out of the affected area, if possible, so they will not be affected by the event. Facebook allows people to quickly share they are safe with their family and friends during a major disaster or crisis through Safety Check. Click on the Crisis Response icon on the left-side of your Facebook home page.
  • Fire Safety. Plan an escape route and identify two ways out of every room of your home.
  • Considering to stay or leave home. You may not be ordered to leave, however,  you may be more comfortable going somewhere else, especially if you have no power. If you stay put, continue to follow news reports and monitor the situation. Make sure your gas tank in car is full.
  • Evacuation. If you receive a mandatory evacuation order you should leave as soon as possible. If you choose to ignore the request to evacuate, be prepared to remain self-sufficient for 3 or more days after the weather event is over. In addition, emergency responders will not risk lives to respond to a 911 call during a mandatory evacuation.




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