Taking the opportunity to plan ahead and create personal plans and resources to support yourself and your family can be a key factor in surviving an emergency especially for older adults and individuals with disabilities. National state and local emergency preparedness is doing more to include individuals with disabilities in the planning processes and create inclusive plans, but there is still a long way to go before we reach full inclusion. Making a plan before hand to coordinate personal resources and supports before considering help of first responders or emergency personnel is a responsibility that All Americans must make for their safety and the safety of their families.
For National Preparedness Month, Ready.gov suggests the following steps:
- Make a Plan – Talk with family members about your emergency plan. Discuss how you will stay in touch when disaster strikes and tailor your plan to specific needs in your house. Consider the needs of people with disabilities and older adults, children and pets and your Medical needs. Perhaps even Create a budget that includes an emergency savings fund.
- Build A Kit – Ensure your kit is stocked with essential items, including what is needed to protect you and your family from COVID-19.Consider the unique needs of your family and have enough supplies for several days and store items in airtight containers.
- Prepare for Disasters – Make sure you are gathering the tools and information you need. Consider the sort of disasters (e.g earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, floods) that might affect your area and plan for them
- Teach Youth About Preparedness – Youth are an important part of building a national culture of preparedness; children under the age of 18 make up nearly one-quarter of the entire U.S. population. Promote good financial saving practices by providing clear steps to saving, budgeting, setting and meeting financial goals. Check out the Ready Kids website for tips on how to prepare your entire family.
For many Americans the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the emergency for which we would be preparing. While some are required to venture out side in an environment that is in a state of emergency, for the rest of us home, school, and work have been taking place in the same location for the past several months. Even so there is still opportunity to prepare for emergencies and make plans for the safety of our friends and families. For those who have homes that are playing double and triple duty as school and work, also take some time to replenish first aid kits and go kits, change e the batteries in smoke detectors and ensure additional resources such as medications and water – if you have not done so in response to the pandemic.
Below are some resources to get your started.
- National Preparedness Month |Ready.gov
- Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
- Emergency Preparedness – Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S Department of Labor
- Emergency preparedness for Older Adults – Centers for Disease Control
- Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors – American Red Cross
- Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities – American Association of People with Disabilities
- Emergency preparedness at Ready.gov