National Preparedness Month Week 1: How to prepare before a disaster occurs

National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. This month, the Office of Resiliency will provide resources for all members of the Case Western Reserve University community to better prepare for a wide range of emergencies.

To begin, the office has provided details about how to prepare for a disaster before it occurs; natural disasters like tornadoes and blizzards may force you to evacuate your home or shelter-in-place on short notice. It is essential that our loved ones are prepared and well-informed before disaster strikes. If you are an older adult living alone or in a senior community, you may face some challenges during an emergency.

The first step in preparing for an emergency is creating a plan. Work with your friends, family, and neighbors to develop a plan that suits your needs! Learning more about what kinds of disasters are most likely to affect you and your family based on where you live is a great start; this will help you tailor your Emergency Supply Kit. 

You can also look into possible evacuation routes and shelters at the state, county and local government level for you and your furry companion. Not all shelters accept pets, so keep this in mind when making your plan (you can create a plan for your pets, too). 

Include backup communication measures to stay in touch and have a fallback plan in case of a power and internet outage. Communication is critical during a disaster, so ensure your electronics are regularly charged or purchase a battery pack to extend their usage. 

View a care plan document to get started. This document offers a place to list all of your medications, emergency contacts, doctor’s information and more. If you need to access a pharmacy during a disaster, you can use RxOpen to track which pharmacies are open to replenish medications as needed. 

Finally, store essential documents in a fireproof and waterproof container and save a digital copy that can be readily accessible, along with a preparedness checklist.

Remember, this is just the foundation for your plan; add as much information to it as you’d like to be your own hero when disaster strikes.

Learn more at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Red Cross.