A Parliament of Owls: National Preparedness Month – Ready for Anything

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Did you know a group of owls is called a “parliament”? In the case of the Weston Owl, a Parliament is a guest post on this page. The following post was written by Rudy Ruggles, a member of Weston’s fantastic Weston Emergency Reserve Corps (WERC).


This year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” intended to empower everyone, especially older adults, to 1) assess their needs, 2) make a plan, and 3) engage their support network to stay safe when disaster strikes. 

1. Assess your needs. If you have medications that need refrigeration, rely on mobility or assistive devices or have a pet you’ll need to understand how these variables will factor into what you’ll need to stay safe in a disaster or emergency. Here are links to just a few of the FEMA sites filled with specific preparation considerations for:
People with Disabilities 
Animals & Household Pets

2. Make a plan. Once you assess your needs, you can tailor your plans to make sure your needs are met. This can include building a kit that includes extra medication, having a way to store medications in an emergency and planning for your pets or service animals. Handy checklists are available online through organizations like the Red Cross and MA Office of Preparedness and Emergency Mgt.

3. Engage your support network. Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can help you build a support network that can support you before, during and after a disaster or emergency. Share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your group, including a friend or relative in another area who would not be impacted by the same emergency who can help if necessary. Make sure everyone knows how you plan to evacuate your home or workplace and where you will go in case of a disaster. Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.

If you’re an older adult or work with and support older adults visit Ready.gov/older-adults and Ready.gov/es/adultos-mayores for resources. If you are helping an older adult, keep in mind that they may need some additional support before, during, and after disasters. For instance, you might:

+Make sure to include their neighbors’ contact information in your emergency plan.
+Install an easy to find contact list of their support network on their phone and keep a copy on your phone.
+Add medical information to their electronic devices.
+Protect older adult’s finances by helping them review their insurance policy every year. Make sure their insurance policy covers hurricane-related hazards like flooding and high winds.
+Have a list of their medical devices/equipment and an emergency plan for them.
+Have an evacuation plan for any medications they may have, especially if they need to be refrigerated.
+Have a copy of their house key (or know where to find one) and know where they keep emergency supplies and critical documents.

FEMA’s Digital Backpack

Backpack with documents, camera and phone

FEMA’s already useful app has a new feature: a “digital backpack.” Here’s how they describe it:

You may already have an emergency kit at home or a go-bag in your car with supplies like water, flashlights, and a first aid kit. But did you know you can also safeguard important electronic documents—property deeds, insurance documents, medical records and more—in FEMA’s new digital backpack?

Having digital backups of your important physical documents means that you’ll have the information to replace them should you need to. That’s where the digital backpack comes in. Easy steps to create a digital backpack are now on the FEMA app, available from the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, look for the Prepare icon at the bottom of the screen. Tap the A-Z tab and then Emergency Plans, Kits & Checklists. Scroll down to Digital Backpack. The app then takes you step by step through the process of creating a digital backpack, from gathering documents to showing you how to store these documents online to keeping them updated. Once you’re done, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you have access to documents you may need during an emergency.


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