FEMA Releases Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers

In recognition of caregivers’ dedication and commitment to those in their care, FEMA and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) have created the Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers (PDF) to help them navigate unique challenges that may arise during disasters.

“Caregivers are unsung heroes. This becomes especially true for those who carry out their duties before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other extreme weather events. People with disabilities or other access and function needs, such as older adults, face a disproportionately higher likelihood of abandonment, additional injury, and death during disasters.

When forced to evacuate, relocate to emergency shelters, or find temporary housing, care recipients and caregivers require support and services that meet them where they are and account for unmet needs. FEMA is pleased to announce The Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers (PDF), a new guide that focuses on the lived experience of caregivers who often serve as a lifeline for others, whether the skies are blue or gray.”

The above text is an excerpt from the ODIC news email by Sherman Gillums Jr., Director of FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) on 2/27/2024.

There are three essential steps that can help caregivers feel more prepared and in control when disaster strikes:

Assessing needs

Preparedness starts with considering the many tasks a caregiver performs as a matter of routine, such as hygiene care, meal preparation, routine medical assistance, and prescription drug management.

Engaging a support network

Caregivers also need care. Thinking through access to systems of support, especially if displaced, and the stress of keeping a care recipient safe and healthy are important.

Creating a plan

Recovering from a disaster begins with seeing preparedness as the first response to a disaster. By making an emergency plan, tracking alerts and updates, and keeping a checklist of everything a care recipient would need in the event a disaster disrupts the daily routine, caregivers become the true “first” responder.

Read FEMA’s full press release from 2/16/24: FEMA and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers Release Disaster Preparedness Guide on National Caregivers Day

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