Immediately After a Disaster

The First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability (FTAAAD), in conjunction with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and other First Tennessee area service agencies, has put together a disaster preparedness guide specifically for Tennesseans age 60 and older.  

The Worst Has Just Happened, Now What Do You Do?

Some of these actions depend upon the type of disaster. For example, you don't have to worry about items shifting in your closets or cabinets following an ice storm. If you live in a home with no gas connections and know for a fact that no natural gas lines have been installed near your home, then it's probably safe to use matches or to light a candle if the power is out, it's dark inside your home, and you don't have a working flashlight. The point is to think about these things before doing something you may regret. Don't lose your head. Use this list as a guide, ask yourself who or what needs your attention, and use common sense. 

  • Check yourself for injuries. Take care of your first aid needs.
  • Wait for an “all clear” broadcast before leaving a safe location.
  • If the local water supply may have been affected, do not drink tap water or well water until local emergency management officials declare it is safe to drink.
  • Avoid contaminated foods.
  • Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires or trees and objects in contact with, or near, power lines.
  • Avoid using elevators until officials advise that the elevators are safe to use.
  • Turn off all utilities impacted by the disaster.  
  • Open closet doors and cabinet doors with caution, in case items may have shifted.
  • Use the telephone only to report life-threatening situations.
  • If gas lines are present, do not use lighters, matches, or candles.
  • Do not turn on electrical switches until local emergency management officials declare it is safe to do so.