Older adults are among the most vulnerable when disaster strikes. That’s why it’s critical that older people, and those who care for them, prepare for emergencies. The following steps are the basics of what older adults and their loves ones can do to prepare for disasters. There are also several great resources at the bottom of the page.
- Identify disasters you are most likely to face. In Williamson County, most likely hazards include flooding and severe storms. Find out more about local hazards here.
- Learn about your community response. Find out about local plans for emergency alerts, evacuation, and shelter resources. If you live in a long-term care facility, check with your building’s management.
- Sign up for alerts and warnings. There are several alert systems available, from weather apps to our county alert system, on our alert page.
Assess your needs
- Understand how your medical, physical and cognitive needs may affect how you respond in an emergency.
- Think about how you would respond if your power went out or you had to evacuate your home.
- Talk about who could assist you when you need help.
- Consider getting a medical ID bracelet or pendant.
Plan with your support network
- Identify your helpers.
- Make sure someone has an extra key to your home, knows how to use your medical equipment, and has a knowledge of your routine treatments. If you have a communication related disability, note the best way to communicate with you.
- Prepare for your pets or service animals. Think about pet-friendly places to go if you need to evacuate.
Develop your plan
- Decide how long you can stay home during a disaster before you need to leave. Monitor our website's current emergency information page, the local news, and emergency alerts for updates and guidance.
- Figure out who can help you evacuate. Set up travel arrangements and a meeting place.
- Think about your power needs. If you require power to operate medical devices or keep medicines cold, make a back-up plan.
- Know the exit points from each room in case of a fire. Identify two ways out of every room to escape a home fire and plan for the help you may need.
- Understand your insurance needs, or have a helper make sure you are properly insured from any disasters you may face.
- Create a communications plan, including writing out an emergency contact list on paper.
- Gather emergency supplies. Be sure to include any essential items to meet your medical needs:
- Enough medications for 3-6 days
- List of all medications you are taking and the proper dosage
- An insulated bag for medications
- Medical equipment and necessities
- Written information about current treatments
- Insurance cards
- Key medical records
- Get your benefits electronically
- Receive social security via direct deposit or direct express to avoid fraud. A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks.
If nothing else, the three most important things to remember to do during a disaster are to:
- Stay informed.
- Know when to stay and when to go.
- Ask for help!
- Aging.com: Help loved ones prepare based on highest risks disasters in their area
- FEMA: Preparedness for Seniors
- AARP: “Operation Emergency Prepare” do-it-yourself project
- American Red Cross: Preparedness for older adults
- American Red Cross: Disaster preparedness for Seniors by Seniors
- Health in Aging: Emergency preparedness
- Health in Aging: Emergency tip sheet
- CDC: Resources for older adults
- Public Health Emergency, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Resources for older adults