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All people need to know what to do in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. This is especially true for older adults, who may be homebound or have special needs. Follow these simple steps from the National Family Caregiver Support Program to make sure you are prepared for an emergency:
Step 1 — Know the basics. Learn about the types of emergencies or disasters most likely to occur where you live. For instance, people living on the Gulf Coast need to know about hurricanes and how to evacuate, if necessary. Learn how to do things in your home, such as shutting off your water, gas, or electricity. Know your neighbors and how to reach them.
Step 2 — Keep emergency supplies on hand. This includes the items you would need to survive in your home for several days, as well as items you would need to bring with you in case you needed to leave your home. Use an emergency checklist to make sure you don't forget anything important.
Step 3 — Make a personal plan. Pick an emergency contact that lives out of the area, and keep their contact information with you. Make sure your loved ones know how to get in touch with your emergency contact. Keep a list of medications with you. Make a plan to deal with any special needs you might have. For instance, if you depend on electric power for supplemental oxygen, do you have a generator or battery backup? If you do not drive, can you register with a local emergency services organization? Are your neighbors aware of any special needs you might have?
If local or federal officials tell you to evacuate, do so. Staying in a disaster area makes it harder to receive the services you may need during or after the disaster.
Content last updated: August 12, 2010.