Only 41 percent of boomers have prepared an emergency kit to help them cope with a natural disaster, and just 38 percent have a household plan for what they might do in the wake of such an event, according to a survey of 2,007 U.S. adults by Farmers Insurance. Only 22 percent of boomers have both precautions in place, the survey found.
Millennials are better prepared, with 49 percent having a kit and 44 percent having a plan.
Boomers also may be neglecting to put important items in their disaster kits. Forty percent said their prescription medicines were among the most important items to include, but just 10 percent cited extra batteries and/or a backup power supply as important must-haves.
Additionally, about 1 in 5 boomers who have kits have gone more than a year without checking the items in them to make sure that they haven’t expired and are in working order.
Farmers Insurance also found that 43 percent of boomers don’t feel confident that they could rebound financially from a disaster. Nineteen percent of boomers said they have no savings at all to rely upon in the event of catastrophe.
These gaps in preparation are surprising since the survey also found that 68 percent of boomers have experienced a natural disaster as an adult, including 36 percent who’ve lived through hurricanes.
Older generations might need to prepare differently than younger ones, Jarrod Murrieta, head of claims catastrophe response for Farmers, said via email. “Older adults may be more vulnerable during a natural disaster because they may have physical limitations or health conditions that make it challenging for them to respond quickly during an extreme event,” he said.
A ‘Go Bag’ Can Make All the Difference in an Emergency
Pack an extra phone charger in case you’re fortunate enough to have electricity, and a portable battery pack in case you’re not. Also stash a long-lasting LED flashlight. Pack a small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).
While getting ready for a typical day, list every toiletry you use, then buy a travel-size version of each. Pack backup eyeglasses, as well as a first-aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a knife and can opener.
Pack a few days’ worth. Include layers you can add or remove, plus lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
Pack about three days’ worth of each of your prescriptions,, which should last until you can get to a pharmacy that’s open. If you need larger items, such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
The perfect bag
Think small and portable. A backpack is ideal, but a lightweight suitcase with wheels will also do. Just remember, you may literally be running with it.
Fill a zip-top waterproof bag with photocopies of your birth certificate; driver’s license; Social Security and Medicare cards; power of attorney and will; any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates; proof of address; insurance, medical and immunization records; and information about your credit and ATM cards.
Food and drink
Bottled water is essential. Granola or energy bars are great because they are small and filling, and they come in a variety of flavors.
In addition to enough money for a few days, include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need to buy something out of a vending machine, you don’t want to start asking equally desperate strangers for change.
Jeff Rossen is NBC News’ national investigative correspondent and the author of the new survival and fraud-fighting book Rossen to the Rescue