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Montgomery County to Hold National Preparedness Month Events Throughout September, with Focus on Helping Older Adults Stay Safe During Emergencies

For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 31, 2023

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.

National Preparedness Month 2023

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 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.

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Release ID: 23-375
Media Contact: Mark Roper 240-962-1743
Categories: Health, Housing, Public Safety, Recreation, Senior