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FEMA Advice for Older Adults on Disaster Preparedness Skip to content

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FEMA Suggests Older Adults Keep Emergency Preparedness Plans

Peak hurricane season extends from mid-August to late October

A man at a gas station fills up empty fuel tanks as he prepares for Hurricane Irma in St. Petersburg in 2017.

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

In preparation for Hurricane Irma in 2017, Florida residents stocked up on gas in case of a shortage or down gas lines.

En español | Not only have weather patterns gotten increasingly unpredictable, but peak hurricane season also has just begun and will last until late October. And while Hurricane Dorian has its sights set on Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that it is especially important for older adults everywhere to remain prepared for emergencies.

“Being prepared for a disaster is important at every age,” says Jeff Jackson, deputy assistant administrator, National Preparedness Directorate at FEMA. “This is especially true for older adults who may rely on the availability of health care services, accessible transportation, special diets, medications, mobility devices, access to power, communications and other vital resources.” Jackson suggests that those who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities speak with the administration about disaster plans, especially the evacuation plans. Family members should also ask about the facility’s emergency preparedness.

 “It is critical that older adults discuss their needs with their trusted support network before a disaster occurs,” Jackson says, especially since disasters are often followed by a loss of power (that can last from hours to weeks), cell phone service and impassable roads.

Here are some of FEMA’s disaster preparedness tips:

  • Get to know your neighbors and check on them regularly.
  • Expect that you may not have access to a medical facility or a drugstore during an emergency, so it’s crucial to have an adequate supply of resources you use regularly. If you use medical equipment that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage.
  • Be sure to stay informed and sign up for local alerts and warnings. To learn how, contact your local emergency management agency or office.
Older adults should make sure they have an emergency plan in place and have medication, first aid and other items packed and ready in the case of severe weather.

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Before a disaster:

Be sure to stay informed and sign up for local alerts and warnings. To learn how, contact your local emergency management agency or office. Before a disaster:

  • Heed the advice of local officials who will provide evacuation details and shelter locations;
  • Pay attention for up-to-date information before, during and after a disaster;
  • Make sure your battery-powered radio is working and you have extra batteries;

“Whenever possible, older adults should create a support network of family, friends, neighbors, community or faith-based organizations, human service providers and others who may be able to assist before and after an emergency or disaster,” says Jackson. “It is critical that older adults discuss their needs with their trusted support network before a disaster occurs.”

AARP also offers Do-It-Yourself Projects to prepare for hurricanes and other emergencies.

More on Emergency Preparedness

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