AARP’s Create The Good’s Operation Emergency Prepare toolkit helps individuals and groups get organized before an emergency or natural disaster takes place. The free guide is available at createthegood.org and lays out how to gather resources and prepare. Here are samples of do-ahead tasks:
•Secure vital documents. Keep copies in a waterproof container (or a plastic zippered bag), and store in a safe place. Vital documents to copy include Social Security and health insurance cards, family records, financial statements, account numbers, wills, and insurance policies.
•Prepare a basic emergency supply kit. A kit should have the essentials to meet someone’s basic needs for a few days. Items to consider include water, food, first aid kit, flashlight, radio, batteries, and prescriptions.
•Develop an evacuation plan. Also, include a plan for elderly friends and relatives. Things to consider: Do not wait until the last minute to leave; follow instructions for official evacuation procedures; check on family, friends and neighbors before you head out; and if heading to a shelter, plan on using your own supplies, and be aware most do not take pets.
•Secure the area. In the event of a disaster, be sure to: Close and lock all windows and doors; stay tuned to local news stations via battery-operated radio; prepare to evacuate if ordered; cover windows and doors with shutters or plywood if high winds are expected; move electronics or valuables away from windows, and wrap in plastic garbage bags to keep dry; have a supply of bottled water on hand; fill sink and tubs with water; shut off water at the main valve, and electricity at the main fuse or breaker box; and secure outdoor objects such as trash cans and patio furniture.