FEMA and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers Release Disaster Preparedness Guide on National Caregivers Day, Honoring the Legacy of First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
February 16, 2024

New Easy-to-Use Guide Offers Caregivers Preparedness Resources Tailored to Their Needs, Helps Increase Disaster Resilience Community-Wide

WASHINGTON -- In a groundbreaking collaboration, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell and Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers (RCI) CEO Dr. Jennifer Olsen are proudly announcing the release of a new first-of-its-kind guide for caregivers to help them prepare for disasters and protect their loved ones called Take Control in 1, 2, 3: Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers. The guide was developed with a deep understanding of the role of caregivers and the challenges they face and provides an easy to use and clear tool, along with actionable steps to increase disaster resilience.  

“Few people understood the important role caregivers play in their community like First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Her commitment to uplifting caregivers lives on in the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers -- an organization we at FEMA are thrilled to partner with to release our new preparedness guide,” said Administrator Criswell. “For many vulnerable populations, caregivers are the first responders in times of crisis. This new guide recognizes the challenges many caregivers face and provides actionable steps to not only increase their resilience, but also keep themselves and those they care for safe during emergencies.”

With an estimated 53 million people in the United States providing care for someone ill, disabled or older, the need for proactive disaster preparedness within this community cannot be overstated. This guide addresses the unique challenges faced by caregivers and offers practical solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of both caregivers and care recipients in the event of a disaster. Informed by the invaluable insights of caregivers within RCI’s 4Kinds Network, this comprehensive guide equips family caregivers and their care recipients with essential resources and tools to navigate and prepare for unforeseen disasters.

This past September, Administrator Criswell signed an agreement formalizing the partnership between FEMA and RCI. “It is imperative that we understand the critical and irreplaceable role family caregivers of all ages play -- that they too are on the front line of care and need our support,” said Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jennifer Olsen. “This is key to effectively navigating future disasters and reducing the disproportion impact on caregivers and care recipients.” 

Today, the nation observes National Caregivers Day, which serves as a poignant reminder of the dedication and sacrifices made by caregivers. Take Control in 1, 2, 3: Disaster Preparedness Guide for Caregivers is a testament to FEMA and RCI’s commitment to supporting caregivers in their crucial role, ensuring they are equipped to face any challenges that may arise.

The guide meets caregivers where they are. Every day, caregivers navigate complex systems and prepare for the unexpected, which is experience that can be used in building resilience. Just like emergency preparedness, there is not a one-size-fits method for caregiving. The guide divides planning into three actionable steps: identifying barriers and risks, connecting with partners and resources and making a plan. The guidance is tailored depending on if a caregiver is planning alongside their care recipient, engaging a support network or providing support as a solo caregiver. The guide’s resources can be utilized for all types of disasters and emergencies.

FEMA and RCI invite caregivers, care recipients and the public to access and disseminate this vital resource, which can be found on Readygov. FEMA and the Ready Campaign are committed to understanding communities and their barriers to preparedness and developing messaging and tools that are inclusive and culturally competent. This guide is just one of many resources available on Ready.gov. Just last year, the Ready Campaign released Take Control in 1, 2, 3: Disaster Preparedness Guide for Older Adults, a guide developed to address the needs of older adults and included new preparedness resources just for them. 

This resource honors the legacy of Mrs. Carter and builds upon her enormous contributions to ensuring older adults and caregivers are never left out of the conversation. Last month, FEMA and RCI co-hosted a caregiver preparedness webinar to leverage their expertise of disaster resilience and caregivers’ unique strengths and challenges. The webinar included a panel of emergency management professionals and caregivers to share strategies and resources for meeting caregivers’ and care recipients’ needs in preparing for disasters and emergencies. Moving beyond broad preparedness advice, caregivers received actionable and specific advice and a resource list for their care recipients and themselves. This webinar also acknowledged the barriers caregivers face in preparedness while hearing firsthand from emergency managers and other caregivers proven strategies that account for the unique circumstances of their care recipient. 

In early March, FEMA will host a webinar with national partners to continue the conversation and help caregivers connect and learn how to help their loved ones prepare for disasters.

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