Seniors Digest
KIPDA Area Agency on Aging and
Independent Living
  November 1, 2011 

Emergency Preparation Makes Sense for Older Americans

Get ready now!

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today.  Every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies and possible disasters. Evaluate your personal needs and make an emergency plan for you and your loved ones.  

1. Make a Kit with Emergency Supplies.

Consider how an emergency might affect your individual needs. Plan to make it on your own for at least three days. You may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore. It is crucial that you think about the resources you and your family use on a daily basis and what you must have available during an emergency. Think first about survival basics and life sustaining items you require. Consider making two kits: one for sheltering in place, and another to take along if you must evacuate.

Necessary supplies:

  • Senior emergency preparation brochure from Ready.gov

    Ready.gov offers a free online brochure to help older adults and families prepare for emergencies.

    Water – one gallon per person per day for three days, for drinking and sanitation


  • Food – three-day supply, non-perishable, and a can opener

  • Radio – battery-powered or hand crank, and/or a NOAA Weather Radio; extra batteries for both

  • Flashlight – extra batteries

  • First aid kit

  • Whistle – to signal for help

  • Dust mask – to filter contaminated air

  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape – to shelter-in-place

  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation

  • Medications and Medical Supplies – include enough for at least one week.

Keep a copy of prescriptions, including dosage or treatment information, and insurance cards and important records. For treatments or services administered by a healthcare provider, talk to your provider about emergency procedures. Identify back-up service providers if they may be needed. Consider electricity for medical equipment needs. Talk to your medical provider about alternatives during an emergency. Remember to include additional items such as eyeglasses, hearing aids with batteries, wheelchair, batteries and oxygen. Keep insurance cards and important documents in a waterproof container. Include names and numbers of your personal support network and medical providers. Keep cash or travelers checks in your kits to purchase supplies.

2. Make a Plan For What You Will Do in an Emergency

Think through the details of your everyday life. Make a list of the people who assist you on a daily basis, and their emergency contact information. Think about what transportation you use and what alternatives could serve as back-ups. If you require handicap accessible transportation, be sure your alternatives are also accessible. Make an alternative plan for every aspect of your daily routine, and write it down.  Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency supply kits and a list of important information and contacts in your wallet. Share your plan with your family, friends, care providers, and others in your personal support network.

3. Be Informed About What Might Happen

Many things you can do to prepare for the unexpected are the same regardless of the type of emergency. 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. Make every effort to follow instructions from authorities on the scene. Above all, stay calm, be patient, and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.

For more information about these three life-saving steps, visit www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY.


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