A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

It’s National Preparedness Month, time for everyone to prepare for disasters, emergencies: ‘Take control’

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

September marks National Preparedness Month, the annual recognition set to remind everyone in America how important it is for individuals, families, and communities to prepare for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time.

President Biden issued a National Preparedness Month proclamation, acknowledging the importance of building a nation more prepared and resilient in the face of the more frequent and severe disasters the country has endured in the last few years.

Storm damage in Hopkinsville (File photo)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says in Kentucky, which has a 17.6% senior population, older adults can face greater risks when it comes to a multitude of extreme weather events and emergencies we now face. They point out that over 25% of the applicants who apply for FEMA disaster assistance are over 65 years of age and 44% of them live in rural areas. 

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said this year’s theme would focus on preparing older adults and their caregivers ahead of disasters.
“September is National Preparedness Month, and during our month-long campaign to emphasize the importance of being ready when disaster strikes, FEMA is focused this year on providing information and resources to empower older adults as they make their own preparations,” she said. “We are also underscoring the importance of involving caregivers in these conversations, as they are instrumental in our efforts to help this vital community before, during and after disasters.” 

The motto going along with the theme is “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” encouraging everyone, especially older adults, to become more prepared in three simple steps: 

Assess your needs. Everyone has unique needs. There are several factors that can affect the steps you need to take to prepare yourself and those you care for.

Whether you care for pets, have children, have a medical condition or have a disability, it is important to know what your family will need to stay safe.
Make a plan. Once you’ve assessed your needs, plan for what you’d do, where you’d go and what to bring if a disaster strikes.  Your emergency supply kit should include items that meet your needs.
Engage your support network. Get to know your neighbors because they, along with your family and friends, can be a support network before, during and after a disaster by providing emotional and practical support.
Kentucky FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer John Brogan and Kentucky Emergency Management Director Jeremy Slinker will be spending the month reaching out to Kentucky disaster survivors who are older adults, people with disabilities or people who serve or care for these individuals.
For more information on how to prepare yourself, your loved ones and your community, visit Ready.gov

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