Are You Ready for an Emergency?- Preparing for Emergencies as a Senior

by Bruce Montgomery Ph.D. May 19, 2016

Are You Ready for an Emergency?- Preparing for Emergencies as a Senior

Are you prepared for a tornado? A flood? An earthquake? A fire? A hurricane?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched Ready as a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. Ready is dedicated to disaster preparation and response including a segment devoted to seniors.

You can print a brochure entitled, “Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for Older Americans.”

Some excerpts from Ready for Seniors:

Seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration. Make arrangements for any assistance to get to a shelter.

The first step is to consider how an emergency might affect your individual needs. Plan to make it on your own, for at least three days. It’s possible that you will not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore. It is crucial that you and your family think about what kinds of resources you use on a daily basis and what you might do if those resources are limited or not available.

Basic Supplies: Think first about the basics for survival – food, water, clean air and any life-sustaining items you require. Consider two kits.

  • In one kit put everything you will need to stay where you are and make it on your own for a period of time.
  • The other kit should be a lightweight, smaller version you can take with you if you have to leave your home.

Basic emergency supplies include:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food and a can opener if kit contains canned food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps
  • Pet food, extra water and supplies for your pet or service animal

FEMA also provides an instructional video containing information specific to Older Americans and tips on how to prepare for emergency situations:

*Note: Fall prevention efforts can reduce the risk of falling. Caregivers and older homeowners can become knowledgeable about what needs to be done to make homes as fall-proof as possible. Check here often and search for product ideas that can make you safer in your home!

Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.
Bruce Montgomery Ph.D.


Dr. Bruce Montgomery is a licensed building contractor in Michigan and Florida. He is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist as designated by the National Association of Home Builders. He has also achieved an Executive Certificate in Home Modification from the University of Southern California. He has a wide ranging educational background, including a Master of Science degree in Entomology, with a Master of Science degree in Forestry and a Ph.D. in educational administration.