September is National Disaster Preparedness Month

If a disaster were to strike your community, would you be prepared? September is National Preparedness Month. It’s an opportunity to remind people that disasters can come at any time, and that it’s important to be prepared for them.

During a disaster event, you may not have access to food, water, or electricity for several days. Preparing an emergency kit can help keep you and your family healthy for several days during a disaster or until help arrives. Put enough supplies in your kit to last yourself and your family for 3 days. Some important items to include in your kit are:

  • Medications

  • Non-perishable food and water

  • Supplies for babies and children

  • Pet supplies

  • Cell phone and charger

  • Flashlight and whistle

  • Cash

  • Copies of important papers, like a passport or social security card

  • First-aid kit

  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries

Another key way to stay prepared in case of an emergency or a disaster is to plan ahead. When making a disaster plan for yourself or your household, you should

  • Determine what types of disasters might affect the area where you live.

  • Make a plan about how best to communicate with loved ones during an emergency situation. If a disaster strikes, everyone in your household may not be together.

  • Consider the age, mobility level, medical needs, and dietary needs of yourself or members of your household, and what you might need in the case of an emergency.

  • Create a support network of family, friends, or others who can help you during an emergency, and share your disaster plans with them.

  • Find a local disaster shelter. You can find open shelters near you on the American Red Cross website or by calling your local American Red Cross chapter. You can find your local chapter by visiting the Red Cross website.

  • Find out the emergency plans of your healthcare provider, particularly if you receive routine treatments at a clinic or hospital. Work with them to find backup providers if necessary.

  • Find out if your local emergency shelter accepts pets. Not all shelters accept pets, so you may need to find an alternative plan to keep your pets safe during a disaster event.

For more tips about how older adults, individuals with disabilities, and others can plan ahead for a disaster situation, please visit You can also find more information by calling the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).