The federal government is working to prepare its older citizens, especially those who are economically vulnerable, for national disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency — in coordination with the nonprofit Ad Council — is releasing new public service announcements Thursday that specifically target older adults, those with limited financial resources, the disabled and those living in rural areas. . FEMA provided Yahoo Finance with an early glimpse of its operation.
The goal is to ensure that senior citizens can not only survive a major disaster but also cope with its consequences financially.
“We know there are a lot of inequities in society and when a disaster hits, it hits them hard,” FEMA Administrator Dean Criswell told Yahoo Finance. “And so these targeted campaigns help us reach some of these more resource-poor communities, giving them information about how they can take steps to help protect and prepare their families.”
US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Dean Criswell speaks at the White House daily press briefing as Hurricane Ian approaches the coast of Florida in Washington, US, on September 27, 2022. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
The PSA includes three steps seniors can take to prepare themselves for a disaster like a hurricane or large-scale power outage: assess needs, make a plan, and engage support networks. A new website, Ready.gov/OlderAdults, offers more precise advice on how to prepare. The site also offers the option to translate into other languages, including Spanish and Creole.
Criswell said personal finances play an important role in disaster preparedness.
“Does your insurance policy have coverage? Do you have enough money in your bank account to stay in a hotel for maybe two or three nights if you have to evacuate?” Criswell said. “So as you’re assessing your needs… we really want people to build that safety net of financial resources, whether it’s through insurance or personal resources, so that they can get support immediately after a disaster hits Could.”
US President Joe Biden poses with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Dean Creswell and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as he delivers a speech inside FEMA headquarters in Washington, US, on September 29, 2022. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarck) (Kevin Lamarck/Reuters)
For example, a disaster may disrupt mail service for several days or weeks. Therefore, the new website recommends that seniors who rely on Social Security benefits protect themselves financially by switching to electronic payments. Additionally, the Treasury Department advises Americans to have their Social Security benefits deposited directly into a checking or savings account or consider a Direct Express prepaid debit card, which provides a good alternative to paper.
Jacqueline Rothenberg, FEMA’s director of public affairs, tells Yahoo Finance, “So by setting up electronic payments, you don’t have to worry about going to your mailbox, you don’t have to worry about depositing your checks. Is.” , “We don’t want people to lose out on payments.”
Another recommendation: Seniors should make copies of Medicaid, Medicare and other insurance cards.
“I think having it immediately on hand instead of not knowing where it is or feeling like you have to go back to your house will help you get all the help you need faster,” Rothenberg said. Is required from.”
Tom Lanier, 78, sits under his home, one of the few residents of Horseshoe Beach, Florida, who escaped Hurricane Idalia in Horseshoe Beach, Florida, US, on August 30, 2023. (Reuters/Cheney Orr) (Cheney Orr)/Reuters)
Ready.gov also includes a disaster preparedness guide for older adults that provides even more details on how seniors can prepare for emergencies. The guide includes worksheets. Senior citizens can use it to record essential emergency kit items, important phone numbers, and medications.
Although the PSAs primarily target seniors, Criswell emphasized that the campaign reaches beyond them.
“I would say that what we’re doing in any of these targeted campaigns can apply to anyone,” Creswell said. “And so, we encourage everyone to check out prepared.gov or Listo.gov for help finding tools and resources that can help them plan to protect their families.”
Dylan Kroll is a Yahoo Finance reporter.
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