National Preparedness Month: Prepare Youth, Seniors, and Individuals with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs

Monday September 27th, 2010

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), a time to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities. The theme for NPM 2010 is "Plan Now. Work Together. Be Ready.” Take advantage of this opportunity to make sure your department, Fire Corps team, and community are prepared for all types of emergency situations.

This week’s focus is about preparing youth, seniors, and individuals with disabilities and other access and functional needs. Communities are made up of residents with a variety of demographics, such as age, physical characteristics, ability, and/or mobility. Some of these populations may be more vulnerable during an emergency. Fire Corps teams can reach out to neighbors and other stakeholders in their areas to spread preparedness messages and inform the public about how to be ready for any emergency. Utilize the information below from to get ideas about how to make all people in your community safer and better prepared.

Prepare Youth

Organize a Scavenger Hunt

Organize a scavenger hunt at a local community center for kids to search for items that should be included in an Emergency Supply Kit. While the kids are hunting for supply kit items, it’s a great opportunity to hand out Family Emergency Plan templates to their parents and/or caregivers.

Plan Preparedness Activities for Scouts and Other Youth Organizations

Make preparedness a priority during September for scout meetings and activities. Conduct preparedness quizzes, download and create personalized checklists, and draft family plans.

Girl Scouts can work toward achieving the new Preparedness Patch.

Boy Scouts can work toward the Emergency Preparedness Award.

Offer Your Help to Schools

Volunteer to bring preparedness information into your child’s class and/or PTO or PTA meetings.

Plan Preparedness Programs at Back-to-School Nights

September is also back-to-school for many schools and a great opportunity to work with the school community to make emergency preparedness a part of those efforts. For example, by working with your local schools, Office of Emergency Management, or Citizen Corps Council during back-to-school nights, families could be invited to hear from local officials about the school and community emergency plans. In addition, it could be a good time to encourage families to prepare for emergencies. Consider having a local first responder teach parents how to make an Emergency Supply Kit and a Family Emergency Plan.

Download and Distribute Games and Puzzles from the Ready Kids Web Site

Visit to download word search games, coloring pages, hidden treasure activities, and more.

Get Rex Involved

Don’t forget that Rex, the official Ready Kids mascot, is available to make an appearance at events. All reservations and requests for the Rex costume must be coordinated through your state or local government, local Office of Emergency Management, or Citizen Corps Council. These organizations are responsible for ordering the costume. It is strongly recommended that requests for Rex be submitted at least four weeks prior to an event.

Prepare Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs

Check on Your Senior Neighbors and Those Who May Need Additional Assistance

Seniors and individuals with disabilities may need a little extra help in getting prepared and during a disaster or emergency. Next time you are visiting, tell them about your own preparedness efforts and ask about their needs and how you can help.

Partner with an Organization that Works with Older Americans or Individuals with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs in Your Community

This could include meal delivery or faith-based organizations to help communicate emergency preparedness messages. Work with your local hospital, mental health center, library, church, community center, independent living center, or nursing home to host a training or event. You can distribute the Ready brochures: “Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans” and “Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Special Needs.”

Spread the Word about Financial Preparedness

Your organization can help those who rely on federal benefits learn about safer, more convenient ways to get their money. Switching from paper checks to electronic payment is a simple but significant step people can take to protect themselves before disaster strikes. The Go Direct® campaign gives people who have checking or savings accounts a fast, free way to sign up for direct deposit. And the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard is recommended by the U.S. Department of Treasury to give people without bank accounts a secure, convenient way to receive their Social Security payments. Visit for more information.

Showcase Instructional Videos

Instructional videos for older Americans and individuals with disabilities are available on the Ready web site at You could play them in your lobbies, waiting rooms, break rooms, and at events.

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council. The 2010 event asks Americans to work together to concentrate actions towards emergency preparedness.


Find preparedness resources and tips to distribute in your community on the Ready web site at (English) and (Spanish), and on the Fire Corps web site at


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