The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person’s abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that ﬁts those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared.
There are commonsense measures older Americans can take to start preparing for emergencies before they happen.
Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and co-workers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment. If appropriate, discuss your needs with your employer.
Seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration. Make arrangements for any assistance to get to a shelter.
Make a list of your personal needs and resources for meeting them in a disaster environment. Some things to consider are:
- Meet with your family members, friends, and building manager to review community hazards and emergency plans. Tell them where you keep your emergency supplies.
- Choose an out-of-town contact. Following a disaster, family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know how to contact this person (e.g. TTY, email, pager, instant message, etc.).
- Decide where to meet your household members if you become separated.
- Complete an Emergency Health Information Card. Update it regularly and keep it with you at all times.
- Plan and practice the escape route from your home.
- Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to a shelter.
- Discuss your plan with family and friends. Discuss who will check on you in the event of an emergency. Make sure that person has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies.
- Find the safe spots in your home for each type of emergency.
- Have a plan to signal for help.
- Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
- If you have home health care service, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures.
- Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency on how to operate necessary equipment.
- Be sure they will be able to reach you.
- Ask your local fire department, police department or emergency management office about emergency special assistance programs.
- Check that all of your visual and vibrating alerting devices have battery back-up in the event of a power outage. Replace the batteries every six months.
- Install audible alarms and visual smoke alarms.
- Secure computers and anchor special equipment.
- Create a back-up system for important data and store it off-site.