EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With natural disasters on the rise and winter fast approaching, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working to make sure people know what to do in the event of a disaster.

For the past 20 years, FEMA has developed its Ready campaign to meet the needs of specific communities.

“This year we really focused on our older adults because they are more vulnerable to the effects, especially if they live alone, if they have disabilities,” Region 1 Preparedness Branch Chief Lauren DeMarco explained.

“We really wanted to develop our campaign this year to focus on three simple things they can do: assess their needs, make a plan, and then engage their support network,” she added.

According to the Ready Campaign website, getting prepared is as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. Assess your needs: know your risk and understand your specific needs.
  2. Make a plan: create both a plan and preparedness kit in the case of an emergency catering to your needs.
  3. Engage your support network: Include family, friends, caregivers etc. in your family planning.

According to FEMA, in 2021 alone, there were 20 extreme weather and climate events. That’s triple the average number of events 15 years prior.

DeMarco said that’s why preparedness is more important than ever.

“Making sure that any of your important insurance information, your health information, put it in a waterproof bag so you have that ID or something that if you have to evacuate, then you can just get up and go,” DeMarco said.

She also said that community support and local outreach are two of the most important factors in keeping elderly loved ones safe and prepared, so they don’t feel alone when a disaster occurs.

Following these steps and taking the time to prepare yourself and your loved ones can make the difference in a life-altering situation, according to DeMarco.