Are you a senior citizen? If so, please take responsibility and prepare now for potential emergencies that may affect you and your family.

Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. Even if you have physical limitations, you can still protect yourself. In the event of an emergency, local officials and relief workers may not be able to reach everyone right away, so take responsibility. Keep in touch with your neighbors, look out for each other and be aware of anyone who may need special help. Knowing what to do is your best protection.

By planning ahead, you can avoid waiting in long lines for critical supplies, such as food, water and medicine.

Disaster preparation checklist for seniors

  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
  • Arrange for someone to check on you regularly.
  • Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home.
  • Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter.
  • Find the safe places in your home for each type of emergency.
  • Have a plan to signal the need for help.
  • Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
  • If you have home healthcare service, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures.
  • Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment; be sure they will be able to reach you.

For your safety and comfort, have at least three days’ worth of emergency supplies (both medical and general) packed and ready in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffel bag. Make sure your bag has an identification tag and label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers that you need.

Be prepared to go to a shelter if your area is without electrical power; if there is a chemical emergency affecting your area; if flood water is rising; if your home has been severely damaged; or if police or other local officials tell you to evacuate.

Emergency supply checklist for seniors:

  • First-aid kit
  • Prescription medicines, list of medications and dosages, list of allergies
  • Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
  • Extra wheelchair batteries and oxygen
  • List of the style and serial numbers of medical devices, such as pacemakers
  • Medical insurance and Medicare cards
  • List of doctors, relatives or friends to notify if you are hurt
  • Battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries for each
  • Change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
  • Blanket or sleeping bag
  • Extra set of keys
  • Cash, credit cards, change for a pay phone
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Phone numbers of local and non-local relatives or friends
  • Insurance agent’s name and phone number

If you need to evacuate:

  • Coordinate with your home-care provider for evacuation procedures.
  • Try to carpool if possible.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your disaster supplies kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Notify shelter authorities of any needs you may have. They will do their best to accommodate you and make you comfortable.

In some communities, people who need help or transportation during an evacuation are asked to register that need with their local government. Call your local emergency management office for information and suggestions about what to do during an evacuation.

If you are sure you have enough time before evacuating:

  • Shut off water, gas, and electricity if instructed to do so and if you know how.
  • Let others know when you leave and where you are going.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Animals may not be allowed in public shelters.

For more information, contact your local emergency management office or visit ReadyWisconsin for more information on Senior Preparedness or visit Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities website.