Personal emergency readiness should be a priority for all members of the U.S. population, especially older adults and their caregivers. Some natural disasters, storms or other emergency events allow only for a few minutes of preparation. That is why it is so important to have a plan of action that you have practiced and that you can execute quickly. How we react in the face of imminent danger can be the difference between safety and serious injury. Your local emergency management office is a great place to start for safety tips, information on potential dangers in your area and a schedule of upcoming community preparedness events.
KNOW THE BASICS
Do you live in a flood zone? How about within a hurricane danger area? Your emergency preparedness begins with knowing the potential dangers around you so you can put together a full plan. No matter where you live in the country, there is potential for emergency situations to arise. Learn how to do things like turning off your gas, electricity and water. Dangerous storms can cause gas leaks or broken water pipes that can add to the hazards around you.
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS
Your best friend in an emergency situation can be your neighbor, especially if you are out of town when disaster strikes. Build relationships with your neighbors and get to know them well. Exchange phone numbers with them so you can both be contacted in case of an emergency. Also share your disaster plan with your neighbors and ask them to explain theirs. You may pick up some good tips that you could incorporate into your own plan.
KNOW YOUR KIT
Everyone should have a basic disaster supplies kit handy in case of emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends the following items for your kit: one gallon of water per person, a three-day supply of non-perish- able food, battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, whistle, dust mask and local maps. See FEMA’s full list at ready. gov.
In addition, many older Americans have special needs related to medications, medical equipment, mobility and support. Plan wisely and accordingly to accommodate all of your most health-critical requirements.