BOISE, Idaho — September is National Preparedness Month, and the American Red Cross is urging everyone to make a plan now in case disaster strikes.
This year looks a little different when it comes to preparing for disaster because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the principles are the same.
"The basics are really to build a kit, to have a plan, to be prepared, and to stay informed, and so those are basic elements you should do anytime, regardless of a pandemic," explains Barbara Weber, Disaster Program Manager for Western Idaho and Eastern Oregon. "Obviously, this year some extra plans need to be put in place. People need to be more aware of where they can go, whether they can stay with family or if there are hotels they can stay, and if they have pets."
Weber also suggests having extra medicine on hand in case you have to leave your home or if you have to quarantine at home.
National Preparedness Month puts a focus on making sure everyone is ready for a disaster, especially older adults. The Red Cross says the pandemic has made many older adults more vulnerable.
"Older adults are even more at-risk. The American Red Cross and the American Academy of Nursing did a study that showed older adults are more vulnerable in the case of emergencies and disasters. There may be special needs, medication, chronic conditions, mobility issues, extra caregivers that need to be aware and in place to help those individuals," Weber says.
To be prepared, older adults should think about what they would do during a disaster before it occurs. Understand how your medical, physical, and cognitive needs may affect your ability to respond if you had to stay in your home for two weeks or more or had to evacuate. Building a support network and identifying helpers such as family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, and care providers who may be able to assist is vital. Older adults should meet with these supporters and decide how to communicate in an emergency.
The Red Cross is also offering classes to help people learn how to prepare for a disaster. A full list can be found below:
PREPARE WITH PEDRO
This 30- to 45-minute preparedness education program for grades K-2 teaches students how to stay safe from home fires. Students learn preparedness and coping skills and receive a storybook to share what they have learned with family members at home.
- Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m. (MST), https://zoom.us/j/94862910381, ID: 948 6291 0381, Passcode: 465620, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
- Oct. 1, 15, 29, noon-1 p.m., https://zoom.us/j/97482347370?pwd=V2JlQ2ZDa1lqTzI1MzhWOHVtUUZFQT09, ID: 974 8234 7370, Passcode: 793136, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
- Oct. 1, 15, 29, 7-8 p.m., https://zoom.us/j/99061613484?pwd=RnBudlRycWdFQmpPQWRUc3NzQm9WQT09, ID: 990 6161 3484, Passcode: 189998, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
BE RED CROSS READY
This presentation teaches individuals how to “Be Red Cross Ready” for an emergency or disaster by following three simple steps: 1) Get a Kit, 2) Make a Plan, and 3) Be Informed.
- Sept. 23, 7-8 p.m. (MST), https://zoom.us/j/95462647064, ID: 954 6264 7064, Passcode: 734955, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
- Oct. 8, 22, 7-8 p.m., https://zoom.us/j/93434442517?pwd=WmliaDl2YnVqZDVObEZZai9qMndiQT09, ID: 934 3444 2517, Passcode: 360528, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
READY RATING (ORGANIZATIONAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS)
Facilitators will walk your business, school, or organization through the free Red Cross Ready Rating program. This simple, online, step-by-step program makes developing an Emergency Action Plan easy. After completion of the program, Ready Rating members gain access to one-of-a-kind tools and resources for evaluating and improving their ability to withstand disasters, maintain operations, and protect lives and property.
- Sept. 25, noon-1 (MST), https://zoom.us/j/99242200538, ID: 992 4220 0538, Passcode: 497718, Call in: 1-253-215- 8782
- Oct. 12, 1-2 p.m., https://zoom.us/j/97636915716, ID:976 3691 5716, Passcode: 290973, Call in: 1-253-215-8782
- Oct. 26, 1-2 p.m., https://zoom.us/j/94823397412, ID: 948 2339 7412, Passcode: 796291, Call in: 1-253-215-8782