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Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

As the leaves fall from the trees and the nights and days get colder, the winter storm season is right around the corner. Are you ready?

See Also: 5 Disaster Prep Tips for Older Americans

We’ve learned from experience here in the Northeast that a natural disaster or other emergency can happen at any time (remember last October’s snow storm?), so it’s best to be prepared and have a plan.

AARP has developed Operation Emergency Prepare to provide tips and resources that can help you prepare for weather-related or other emergencies, as well as check lists and other information you can use to help family or friends who may need assistance.
 
Here are five straightforward – and relatively simple – steps to review your emergency preparedness:

  • Take an inventory of the contents of your home and take photos or videos of the exterior and interior. Keep them in a safe location off the premises.
  • Talk with your family members and neighbors about how to reconnect, with contact numbers and a place to meet if you must evacuate or flee.
  • Place copies of vital documents and records (like personal identification, bank statements, wills, prescriptions, Social Security and health insurance cards, and important phone numbers) in a weatherproof container that you can grab as you run out the door. You can use an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Buy a battery-operated radio and have flashlights with extra batteries easily accessible. Have other emergency supplies ready – a change of clothing, prescriptions, extra glasses, cash, water, food, blankets, whistle and face mask.
  • Put an emergency checklist near the door to make sure you don’t forget anything.

After you’ve completed the checklist for your home, do some extra good by helping a friend or neighbor prepare for an emergency. A disabled, homebound or infirm person probably can't do all of these things and may be reluctant to ask for help.

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