Safety is always key in the event of an emergency or natural disaster and right along with that is knowing what to do, who to call and where to go.

The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Monmouth County Aging Disability Resource Connection and Monmouth County Senior Advisory Council in partnership with the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office and Office of Emergency Management have put together a special emergency evacuation bag for seniors and caregivers to help them be ready to go.

These 'Ready Go Bags' are filled with information critical to a senior citizen who during an emergency may be asked to leave their home and head into a shelter.

"The idea behind these bags is so that seniors and caregivers have the important documentation that a resident would need if they evacuate their home during a major disaster or a local disaster with power outages, a fire, etc. so that they are able to expedite completing an assistance application or providing those folks giving them care at a shelter, the information they need to help them through the process," Oppegaard said.

The bags include a list of medications, doctor's information, next of kin and emergency contact information as well as insurance information.

"If you have insurance that is your first line of defense for expediting your recovery process," Oppegaard said. "We want to make sure that people have all that information readily available for us so that we can direct the assistance to them that they need."

He says this program specifically targets seniors who would have difficulty evacuating themselves during an emergency.

These bags are also a vital tool in keeping things organized at all times and preventing panic from setting in during an emergency.

"We have noticed in the past with some of our emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy that it's those who are very vulnerable who are disoriented during the time of an emergency where they must evacuate," Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, who is also the liaison to the Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services, said. "The idea is to prepare them and prepare them well."

The bags solve the issue of organization and delay during an emergency when things really need to be moving swiftly to ensure safety, aid and transit.

"We have to be sure that we've met the needs of transportation in a lot of those senior centers, senior high-rises and other housing areas that we have, that coupled with the fact that they need to know where all of their information is," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said. "There's been so many times when we're going to evacuate a senior in one of those local areas and they say 'I have to gather all my medications' or 'I don't have a list of medications' and all of that will be available and constructed within this kit."

You can inquire about obtaining a Ready Go Bag with the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management by calling 732-431-7400.

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