National Preparedness Month: Creating your personalized emergency plan

September marks FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, raising awareness of the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that may happen without warning, including severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and snow and ice storms.

Although people of all ages should prepare for emergencies, this year’s National Preparedness Month theme, “Take Control 1, 2, 3”, emphasizes emergency preparedness for older adults.

Stay Informed

The first line of defense during a severe weather threat is staying informed and the ability to quickly access timely information. Make sure you are able to access weather alerts when inside a home or business. 

Stay informed indoors by:

  • Setting up a weather radio in your home.
  • Downloading a weather app on your mobile device and turning on notifications.
  • Signing up for NotifyJoCo to receive time-sensitive alerts, including weather warnings

Plan Ahead

When disasters strike, older adults may find themselves particularly vulnerable, especially when faced with challenges like limited mobility, health concerns and access to resources. Take these into account when creating a personalized emergency plan:

  • Plan how you will communicate with family, neighbors or emergency services if needed during an emergency
  • Keep shelf-stable food and water on hand as well as essentials for any pets
  • Plan for transportation if you need help evacuating
  • Assemble an emergency supply kit with important items, including medicine, first aid and medical supplies, batteries and chargers along with copies of Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance cards

Establish Your Support Network

Build a support network of family, friends and neighbors to assist you during and after an emergency:

  • Make your support network aware of your personalized emergency preparedness plan
  • Make sure at least one member of your support network has an extra key to your home and knows where you store your emergency supply kit
  • If you take medication or use medical equipment, make sure your network understands how to administer the medication and use any needed medical devices

Use National Preparedness Month as your opportunity to plan ahead for yourself, your family and the older adults in your life. Find additional information at