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Emergency Disaster Tips for Seniors

by Carol Marak
New York seen from above

Since peak hurricane season extends from mid-August to the end of October, FEMA suggests older adults stay prepared by having emergency plans in place.

Weather patterns have become increasingly unpredictable, and the hurricane season has just launched, so if you live in a high risk area, here’s what you need to do.

Create a support network of family, friends, neighbors, community or faith-based organizations, human service providers and others who can help before and after an emergency or disaster. Discuss your needs with the trusted support network before a catastrophe occurs, since they bring loss of power, cell phone service and dangerous road conditions. Or call the non-emergency phone number for the police department and ask them to do a well-being check.

  • Check on your neighbors regularly.
  • Expect that you may not have access to a medical facility or a drugstore during an emergency, so have an adequate supply of needed medications and other supplies that you use regularly – create a “to go” bag.
  • If you use medical equipment that requires electrical power, ask your doctor or health care provider how to prepare for its use during a power outage.
  • Be sure to stay informed and sign up for local alerts and warnings.
  • Learn how, contact your local emergency management agency or office. Visit the Red Cross App store to download free smart phone apps that keep you informed.


Figure out an evacuation route in case you need to relocate before, during or after an emergency. Determine how to leave home safely, where to go and what the best route is.

Listen to the radio or TV for advice about whether to evacuate or remain in place. Also, figure out the safest way to shelter in place during an extreme weather event. Practice the evacuation or shelter-in-place drill every six months.

Create a portable emergency supply kit that’s easily carried of rolled. Supply the kit with a three-day supply of medications, non-perishable foods, and water, medical devices, flashlight and batteries, personal hygiene items and chargers for cell phones.

Make copies of important documents and place them in a waterproof bag for safekeeping to include medical insurance card, a photo ID, power of attorney documents, a list of allergies and health conditions, a list of all medications, and contact information for family members, doctors and caregivers. Keep the bag in a place that’s easy to grab it before evacuating.

Before a disaster

Stay tuned in and informed — sign up for local alerts and warnings. To learn how, contact your local emergency management agency.

  • Follow 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.



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