The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 94 million Americans are over age 50. According to the National Organization on Disability, 54 million men, women and children in American have disabilities or other access and functional needs.
The Ready Campaign consulted with a number of organizations experienced in the health and wellbeing of older Americans and people with disabilities and other access and functional needs to develop Ready information tailored to their unique needs. These organizations include AARP, American Red Cross (Red Cross), the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
For free copies of the emergency preparedness brochures for older Americans and people with disabilities, visit the Ready Web Site (www.ready.gov), or call 1-800-BE-READY. Additionally, the instructional videos for older Americans and people with disabilities and other access and functional needs are available on www.ready.gov for individuals to view or save for later use.
Get a Kit of emergency supplies. Be prepared to improvise and use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer.
Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:
Water: one gallon per person per day
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA
Non-perishable food: at least a three-day supply
Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Manual can opener
First Aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Important family documents
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Include Medications and Medical Supplies: If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need on hand to make it on your own for at least a week and keep a copy of your prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information.
If it is not possible to have a week-long supply of medicines and supplies, keep as much as possible on hand and talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what else you should do to prepare. If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within your area and other areas you might evacuate to.
Additional Items: If you use eyeglass, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries or oxygen, be sure you always have extras in your kit.
Also have copies of your medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards readily available. If you have a service animal, be sure to include food, water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other emergency pet supplies.
Make a Plan for what you will do in an emergency.
The reality of a disaster situation is that you will likely not have access to everyday conveniences. To plan in advance, think through the details of your everyday life.
Develop a Family Emergency Plan:
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls, or e-mails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the attack, the first important decision is whether you stay put or get away. You should understand and plan for both possibilities. Watch television and listen to the radio for official instructions as they become available.
Create a Personal Support Network:
If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, ask family, friends and others to be part of your plan. Share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your group, including a friend or relative in another area who would not be impacted by the same emergency who can help if necessary. Include the names and numbers of everyone in your personal support network, as well as your medical providers in your emergency supply kit. Make sure that someone in your personal support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies. If you use a wheelchair or other medical equipment, show friends how to use these devices so they can move you if necessary and teach them how to use any lifesaving equipment or administer medicine in case of an emergency. Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.
Contact Your Local Emergency Information Management Office:
Some local emergency management offices maintain registers of older people so they can be located and assisted quickly in a disaster. Contact your local emergency management agency to see if these services exist where you live or visit ready.gov to find links to government offices in your area.
Be Informed about what might happen.
However, it’s important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstances and make every effort to follow instructions received from authorities on the scene. Above all, stay calm, be patient and think before you act.