Emergencies and disasters can strike without warning.
Carrying a cordless phone, smartphone or personal emergency alert device makes it easier to call for help. Dialing 911 reaches police, fire and ambulance in most areas. The phone numbers of nearby family and neighbors can be entered into phones, posted in the home and shared with others.
A good plan considers different types of emergencies, such as power outages, home fires, gas leaks, accidents, health emergencies, summer or winter storms, or extreme weather.
In some emergencies, it's necessary to leave the area quickly. For others, it's safer to stay in place. Good emergency plans cover both situations.
How someone is able to respond to emergencies can depend upon whether they:
Drive, have a car or can use other transportation
Have good senses of smell, hearing and vision
Live with others or have regular visitors
Have difficulty moving, breathing, balancing, or problems with their memory or judgment
Depend on medical equipment, like wheelchairs, walkers or oxygen
Need daily access to medications or medical supplies
Good emergency plans cover:
Different ways to exit each room and the home
How to leave the area and where to go
Access to food, water and other supplies
Medications and other health needs
Emergency contacts, including people nearby who can help and others who should be notified
How any pets or service animals will be moved, cared for, fed and housed
Emergency preparation also includes protecting important documents and valuables. These can be stored in fireproof cabinets or storage boxes. Copies of family records, wills, power of attorney documents, deeds and insurance information can be kept in a safe deposit box, secure digital storage or with trusted family or friends.