CARTERET COUNTY, NC (September 6, 2023) – As September kicks off, so does National Preparedness Month, an annual initiative led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to promote emergency readiness and resilience among individuals, families, businesses, and communities across the nation. This year’s theme, “Preparing for Older Adults,” highlights the importance of equipping older adults, particularly those in vulnerable communities, with the tools and resources needed to withstand and recover from various hazards.
In Carteret County, the reality of potential natural hazards such as flooding, severe weather, and other emergencies cannot be underestimated. While many emergencies strike with little warning, the actions taken today could make all the difference in saving lives - your own or those of your loved ones.
“Preparing for Older Adults” recognizes that older members of our community often face heightened risks among the extreme weather events and crises we encounter today. These risks are particularly significant for those living alone, with limited income, disabilities, or in rural areas. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that older adults have the necessary tools and support to navigate these challenges with confidence. Key steps include:
- Make a plan. Talk to your family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster, and how you will connect if separated. Choose a primary and secondary meeting place in case an emergency affects your home or neighborhood and designate an out-of-state contact for family members to call if separated. If you know someone who may need assistance during an emergency, please make sure they are signed up for the Medically Fragile Registry. It is a free voluntary service that helps emergency responders better assist residents with special needs in the event of an emergency.
- Build a kit. Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your household including food and water. Consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly. Include provisions for infants and medically fragile family members. You also should prepare an emergency kit for your car.
- Be informed. Know the risk of dangers in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert. In an emergency, stay tuned to local TV or radio stations for alerts, instructions, and official notifications. Follow Carteret County on social media @CarteretCounty.
To support this critical endeavor, Carteret County Emergency Services encourages all caregivers and advocates to visit the newly launched webpage, available in both English and Spanish languages, at https://www.ready.gov/older-adults and https://www.ready.gov/es/adultos-mayores. This webpage provides essential messaging, graphics, and resources to facilitate effective preparedness conversations within older adult communities.
“National Preparedness Month is a great time to think about the types of disasters and emergencies we might face, and take steps to prepare for these scenarios,” said Stephen Rea, Carteret County Emergency Services Director. “Preparing for disasters before they start is a great way to set yourself up for success. Prepared communities handle and recover from disasters more efficiently and effectively than unprepared communities.”
For further information on National Preparedness Month and ways to get involved, please visit ready.gov.