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Posted on September 1, 2023 at 8:56 AM by Bridget Craker
National Preparedness Month is observed every September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies or disasters. The focus for the 2023 National Preparedness Month campaign is Preparing for Older Adults. Older adults who are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, or live in rural areas can face greater risks when disaster strikes. Although many emergencies can’t be prevented, there are steps people can take to be prepared in the event of an emergency.
Make a Plan
There is a lot to consider when planning for an emergency. The first step is talking with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan. Consider the following questions when you’re working on your emergency plan:
How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
What is my shelter plan?
What is my evacuation route?
What is my family/household communication plan?
Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?
After discussing these questions, you’ll want to consider any specific needs in your household. For example, if you have pets, decide who will be in charge of making sure the pets are evacuated if your family needs to leave. Some other considerations include important medical equipment, dietary needs, and responsibilities for assisting others. The next step in this process is to write down your plan or complete a family emergency plan worksheet. Lastly, be sure to practice your emergency plan with your family so that when a real emergency happens, everyone knows what to do.
Build a Kit
Building an emergency kit can look a little different for everyone, depending on their specific needs. Some items that should be included in an emergency kit include water, batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, a whistle, duct tape, trash bags, and a cell phone charger. In addition to these items, you may want to include others as well; for example, if you have pets, be sure to include canned food and other items for them in your kit. You might also want to include over-the-counter medications that you use, and if you have prescription medications, keep them organized so that you can easily put them in your kit if you need to leave home because of an emergency. Lastly, make copies of Medicaid, Medicare, and other insurance cards to include in your kit.
It’s important to have multiple ways of receiving emergency alerts. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) battery-operated weather radio; this way, in case you don’t have WiFi or TV service, you can still receive weather updates. If you use a smartphone, consider downloading the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) app and get weather alerts from the National Weather Service anywhere in the United States. Lastly, you can sign up to receive text message alerts from our local Green County Sheriff’s Office by signing up for alerts on Nixle. Go to https://www.nixle.com/ or text your zip code to 888777.
Green County Public Health has emergency preparedness resources available for community members. We offer Family Emergency Plans, which include worksheets to help your family discuss what you will do in an emergency. These plans come in a plastic envelope with magnets so that they can be placed in a convenient spot like on a refrigerator. If you’re interested in getting an Emergency Plan, please contact Green County Public Health by calling (608) 328-9390.