Helping Older Adults Prepare For Emergencies

Published on September 30, 2020, 11:06 pm
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As National Preparedness Month comes to an end, NYC Emergency Management reminds New Yorkers that creating an emergency plan is the first step to keeping their families safe during an emergency.

While all New Yorkers should create a plan, older adults and individuals with disabilities and/or access and functional needs are particularly vulnerable during emergencies.

To highlight the importance of planning for emergencies, NYC Emergency Management hosted an emergency preparedness virtual panel for older adults on September 29, 2020.

Representatives from the NYC Emergency Management Department, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Department for the Aging, and Older Adult Technology Services (OATS) participated in the virtual panel, sharing information with older adults on the importance of developing an emergency plan.

“While this year’s National Preparedness Month events have been primarily virtual, it has been a great opportunity to share valuable resources and information that can help New Yorkers keep their loved ones safe during an emergency,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell. “During emergencies, older adults and individuals with disabilities and/or access and functional needs are particularly vulnerable. Combined with the risks presented by the current pandemic, it is more important than ever that seniors are prepared. Though National Preparedness Month is ending, you can continue to prepare throughout the year to ensure your loved ones can face any emergency situation.”

“In the past few years, we have learned that emergency preparedness is paramount for older adults, given the threat of unexpected emergencies and their vulnerability – whether it was a hurricane, unprecedented heat emergencies, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. Older adults should have an emergency support network, have emergency supplies on hand, copies of their prescriptions, and, if applicable, register as a life-sustaining equipment customer with their utility company so they are aware of your needs. Education is critical. I want to thank NYC Emergency Management and all presenters for their partnership in keeping older New Yorkers informed and serving older New Yorkers during emergencies,” said NYC Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez.

NYC Emergency Management works with older adults throughout the year to ensure they have the information necessary to remain safe during an emergency. During the event, the panel shared preparedness tips with older adults including the items to include in their Go Bag as well as steps they can take to develop an emergency plan with their friends and family. Panelists also discussed proactive steps older adults can take as we approach flu season. NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell was also on hand to deliver remarks. Following the presentation, attendees participated in a Q&A session with panelists.

The panel presentation follows.

“We all need to be prepared for emergencies, and for older adults that may mean taking a few extra steps to stay safe when a disaster strikes. COVID-19, which has been disproportionally affecting older New Yorkers, serves as a reminder of how important preparedness is for our older populations,” said Iskra Killgore, acting assistant commissioner of Community Preparedness at NYC Emergency Management. “We want to encourage all older New Yorkers to take the steps to prepare now by making a plan, which can be written down in our My Emergency Plan booklet.”

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National Preparedness Month

Held each September National Preparedness Month promotes family and community disaster and emergency planning now and throughout the year. During the month, NYC Emergency Management will team up with City agencies and community partners to organize and promote a number of virtual events for the entire family, including children, older adults, and pets, as well as inform New Yorkers and their communities about the steps they can take to prepare.

Census 2020

The 2020 Census is in process and it is critical that all New Yorkers are counted. New York City stands to lose billions of dollars in federal aid every single year for schools, hospitals, health clinics, affordable housing, transportation, and more, as well as our representation in Congress and in Albany if we do not achieve a complete count. 

The census is easy, safe, and confidential. It can be completed online or by phone. It is just 10 simple questions that can be answered in under 10 minutes. By law, all responses are completely confidential and cannot be shared with anyone — not immigration, not the police, or your landlord. There are no questions about immigration, citizenship, criminal history, or income. Go to my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 to complete your census today. New York City’s future depends on it.

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