Older Adults: Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disasters

One month ago, this region underwent extensive rainfall and potential flooding. Yuba and Sutter counties experienced mandatory evacuations due to the potential that Oroville Dam would fail. 200,000 people were evacuated. Evacuations are scary and difficult. It is more of a challenge for older adults and caretakers to prepare for disasters and possible evacuation.

Many older adults live alone and may have special needs or limited physical mobility, which makes them more vulnerable than younger people when there is disaster. Therefore, it’s all the more important to take steps to prepare for an emergency by evaluating the specific challenges faced by older adults and making an emergency plan to fit their needs.

The following checklist is a helpful tool to help older adults (and those who love and care for them) prepare for a disaster:

Make a Medical Plan

-Medical facilities may not be available. Talk to your doctor about an emergency plan to access medication and other treatments, such as dialysis.

-Keep a current file of your medical history and medication. Make sure a family member or friend has a copy.

Prepare a Disaster Kit

-Have the supplies you need on hand in case you have to evacuate or manage on your own for a period after a disaster, including:

-Enough food, water, medication and other supplies for 72 hours.

-Important documents: health insurance cards, insurance policies, power of attorney.

-Cash to purchase emergency supplies.

Plan for an Evacuation

-Find out if you live in an evacuation zone.

-Locate nearby shelters. Research pet friendly shelters if you have pets

-If you are unable to drive, identify who can provide transportation.

-If you have physical limitations identify who can assist you in an evacuation.

-Create a network of support (neighbors, friends, co-workers, community members) what can help you in an emergency. Share your plan with them.

Above all, when the evacuation order is issued GET OUT! Do not stay behind!