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Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies

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Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies


National Preparedness Month Events Throughout September Will Focus on Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) and Montgomery County Recreation have teamed up to help educate older adults on the importance of preparing for natural disasters, catastrophic events and other emergency situations.  The County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will also participate in the events.

The annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aims to raise awareness about ways to prepare for an emergency. This year’s focus is “Preparing for Older Adults.” Older adults often face greater risks during extreme weather events, especially if they live alone, are low-income, have a disability or live in rural areas.

Representatives from OEMHS will be visiting Recreation’s seven senior centers from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Fridays in September to discuss how older adults can plan ahead for managing their needs before, during and after an emergency.  DHHS will also attend to provide information about services and preparing for emergencies.

“September is National Preparedness Month and due to climate change we are seeing more frequent severe weather events,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We only have to look at Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 hurricane that impacted Florida this week, to see the importance and necessity of having a solid emergency plan in place. National Preparedness Month is an optimal time for all of us to learn how to keep ourselves and our family members safe in an emergency. Specifically, I appreciate our Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security’s efforts to engage and educate our older residents throughout the County’s senior centers throughout the month. Every resident and business in Montgomery County needs to be ready, whether it's a storm, power outage or any other unexpected situation. Take the time to make a plan now, so you're prepared."

The schedule for OEMHS and DHHS representatives visiting senior centers is:  

  • Friday, Sept. 8 - Wheaton Senior Center, 11701 Georgia Ave, Wheaton
  • Friday, Sept. 15 - Long Branch Senior Center, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 15 - Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, 1000 Forest Glen Road, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 22 - Damascus Senior Center, 9701 Main Street, Damascus
  • Friday, Sept. 22 - White Oak Senior Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 29 - Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Drive, Silver Spring
  • Friday, Sept. 29 - North Potomac Senior Center, 13850 Travilah Road, Potomac 

Participants can sign up to receive emergency alerts and warnings and learn how to make a plan to communicate with family or other members of their household, decide on a shelter plan and/or evacuation route and create or update their emergency preparedness kit.

The 2023 theme for National Preparedness Month is “Take control in 1, 2, 3.” FEMA recommends people take this time to plan ahead, make a plan and be informed. Tips for older adults to prepare for an emergency provided by the FEMA website Ready.gov include:

  • Plan for food, water and essentials for you as well as your pets or service animals.
  • Research pet-friendly evacuation centers. Not all shelters accept pets, so plan for alternatives. Consider asking loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area if they can help with your animals.
  • Plan for transportation if you need help evacuating. Include items that meet your individual needs, such as medicines, medical supplies, batteries and chargers, in your emergency supply kit.
  • Plan how you will have your assistive devices with you during an evacuation.
  • Make copies of Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance cards.
  • Create a support network of family, friends and others who can assist during an emergency. Make an emergency plan and practice it with them.
  • Make sure at least one person in your support network has an extra key to your home, knows where you keep your emergency supplies and knows how to use lifesaving equipment or administer medicine.
  • If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital, find out their emergency plans and work with them to identify back-up service providers.
  • Prepare to get your benefits electronically as a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, important way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get Federal benefits:
    1. Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. If you get Federal benefits, you can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or sign up online.
    2. The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper.

To stay informed and receive County-related emergency alerts from Montgomery County officials, register for Alert Montgomery, or follow OEMHS on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter). For additional resources from OEMHS, visit the OEMHS Resource Library.  Visit the DHHS website to learn more about the County’s services for older adults or visit the Montgomery County Recreation website to learn more about the County’s senior centers and programs.

This is a Montgomery County, Maryland announcement.


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Posted by

Roy Kelley, Retired, Former Associate Broker, RE/MAX Realty Group

Gaithersburg, Maryland  

Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Those are great tips for helping older adults stay safe during emergencies.

Sep 05, 2023 01:16 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Roy, I have written a post, and mentioned this post in it: https://activerain.com/blogsview/5806554/when-there-s-smoke

Sep 05, 2023 01:57 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Myrl Jeffcoat 

Thanks so much for mentioning my post in your recent blog.

Sep 05, 2023 02:48 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Roy- excellent information for seniors!!! While we all need to be prepared, seniors may have special concerns such as transportation and medications or other medical needs. 

Sep 05, 2023 05:21 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

This is a program we could all use. Thank you for bringing it to our attention Roy 😃

Sep 05, 2023 05:47 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Sep 09, 2023 05:46 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Roy... this is an outstanding post which all seniors should read and take to heart.

Sep 10, 2023 05:27 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Roy. Once again Montgomery County take the proactive path! Kudos to the organizers. Enjoy your day.

Sep 10, 2023 05:30 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for your comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Sep 10, 2023 11:18 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Kathy Streib 

Thank you very much for the special recognition. It is much appreciated.

Sep 10, 2023 11:19 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Roy Kelley Wonderful post ! I missed this and am so thankful it was featured by Myrl Jeffcoat and Kathy Streib 

Sep 10, 2023 11:55 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Thank you for sharing such valuable information for seniors in the event of an emergency. Awareness, education and being prepared can make such a difference, for seniors, and of course the rest of us as well.


Sep 10, 2023 05:44 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Yes, this is definitely a reminder to check on our older neighbors wherever we are and they are. :)

Sep 10, 2023 09:12 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much for your comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

Sep 11, 2023 01:15 PM