FEMA Administrator Announces 2023 National Preparedness Month Theme Focused on Helping Older Adults Prepare for Disaster

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Release Date:
June 8, 2023

WASHINGTON – Months ahead of September’s National Preparedness Month, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell announced today that the Ready Campaign’s 2023 National Preparedness Month campaign will focus on preparing older adults for disaster, specifically older adults from communities that are disproportionally impacted by the all-hazard events, which continue to threaten the nation. The early announcement is designed to better equip emergency managers, partners, and FEMA customers to plan ahead and join the urgent work to ready our communities.

“With the Atlantic hurricane season now underway, it is imperative that we advocate for the well-being of our nation’s older adults and champion them as valued, honored, and respected members of our communities,” said Administrator Criswell. “We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the multitude of extreme weather events and emergencies we now face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, or live in rural areas. Through our Ready Campaign, FEMA is evolving the way we engage with communities to be more inclusive and impactful than ever before, which includes meeting older adults where they are and getting them the preparedness resources, they need and deserve.”

According to the American Red Cross, there are several factors that make older adults more vulnerable after disasters, including, but not limited to:

  • a greater likelihood to suffer from chronic conditions and the need for associated medications;
  • a greater reliance on assistive devices such as walkers or glasses, as well as support from caregivers and others; and
  •  an increased likelihood of social isolation.

Criswell urged FEMA’s critical partners, emergency managers and all those who work with and support older adult communities to access the new webpage available in English and Spanish languages at Ready.gov/older-adults and Ready.gov/es/adultos-mayores for initial messaging, graphics and resources. As FEMA works throughout the summer months to help ready all communities for disaster, with a particular focus on those older adults, the agency will continue its work with communities and the Ad Council on the ad creative and additional preparedness materials that will be released in September for National Preparedness Month. Additional resources will be posted on Ready.gov/older-adults in the coming weeks.

All communities have access to the general readiness information available through the dynamic information available on Ready.Gov and Listo.Gov, which includes other messaging campaigns designed for specific populations. Last year, as part of FEMA’s ongoing approach to advance accessibility and cultural competency in boosting the nation’s preparedness, FEMA and the Ad Council created new PSAs developed specifically to reach Black and African American communities. The year prior to that, the theme was “Prepare to Protect” and was designed to resonate with Latino communities.

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