September is National Preparedness Month and this year’s theme is “Take Control in 1,2, 3.”  The campaign has a focus on preparing older adults for disasters.  Older adults can face greater risks when it comes to dealing with extreme weather events and other emergencies especially if they live alone, have a disability, live in rural areas and have low-income.

The weather has become more extreme.  Very hot and humid days, drought, below zero temperatures, tornadoes, and windstorms are just some of the events we experience in Winneshiek County and northeast Iowa.  In other parts of the United States people experience collapsing roads and bridges, flooding and hurricanes.  There are man-made incidents too.  The cost of everything is going up.  What if…a family member becomes extremely ill? you become hospitalized? a job loss? reduction in pay? bankruptcy?  evacuation due to flooding? impassable roads? bridge out?  how will you get to town?  What is your emergency?

  1. Assess your needs.  If you have refrigerated medications, rely on mobility or assistive devices or have a pet, you’ll need to understand how tis factors into what you’ll need to stay safe in an emergency.
  2. Make a plan.  Once you determine your needs, you can tailor your plans to be sure those needs are met.  This can include building a kit that includes medications.
  3. Engage your support network.  Build a support network of family, friends and neighbors who can support you before, during and after an emergency.  Make sure someone in your support network has a key to your home and knows where you keep emergency supplies.