MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – As September marks the 20th annual National Preparedness Month, Morris County reminds everyone to recognize the importance of preparedness and take steps that protect themselves and their loved ones.
“Although Morris County is well positioned to respond all types of emergencies, each person or family also needs to be prepared in the manner that best meet the needs of their circumstances. Over the next few months, we will be sharing information to help our residents and businesses prepare for any event that may occur. Our goal is to encourage everyone to get educated and take the steps necessary to weather an emergency with confidence, stay safe and help others,” said Commissioner Deputy Director Myers.
The mission of FEMA is helping people before, during and after disasters. As part of this year’s preparedness campaign that focuses on empowering older adults, FEMA released the Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults. The guide provides easy-to-read, user-friendly worksheets that walk individuals and caregivers through a self-assessment to identify specific-needs and checklists that create a personalized plan.
The information contained in the guide is directed at older adults and their caregivers, but everyone can be better prepared for disaster by following three easy steps:
- Assess your needs.
- Create a plan.
- Engage your support network.
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.
Create 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.
Engage your support network. A support network is vital when disaster strikes. Reaching out to family, friends and neighbors can help you build a network that can support you before, during and after a disaster or emergency. Be sure to 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 and 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.
The Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults is intended to be a people-centered product that helps close the disaster preparedness gap and better meet people where they are, specifically older adults from low-income and rural communities, or those living with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
“Older adults and their caregivers can overcome potential obstacles faced during emergencies and disasters by having a plan of action in place. By following the three steps outlined in the Disaster Preparedness Guide, citizens can help control or an emergency situation while reducing stress and anxiety surrounding it. In Morris County we are fortunate to have a great Human Services department that we work closely with during emergent events,” said Jeff Paul, Director of the Morris County Office of Emergency Manager.
He continued, “Our Human services team is always checking in on our seniors that are part of our Morris County programs. When we are confronted with emergent events, we team up and work together in the best interest of those that we serve.”
By the year 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than under the age of 18. As the older adult population grows, it is important to build citizen awareness around emergency preparedness.
For a complete list of emergency preparedness resources, visit the Morris County Emergency Management webpage.