The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers and FEMA Sign MOU for National Preparedness Month

WASHINGTON—Sept. 1, 2023—September marks National Preparedness Month, the annual recognition set to remind everyone in America how important it is for individuals, families and communities to prepare for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time.

President Joseph R. Biden issued a National Preparedness Month proclamation, acknowledging the importance of building a nation more prepared and resilient in the face of the more frequent and severe disasters the country has endured in the last few years.

Earlier this year, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell announced this year’s theme would focus on preparing older adults and their caregivers ahead of disasters.

“September is National Preparedness Month, and during our month-long campaign to emphasize the importance of being ready when disaster strikes, FEMA is focused this year on providing information and resources to empower older adults as they make their own preparations,” said Administrator Criswell. “We are also underscoring the importance of involving caregivers in these conversations, as they are instrumental in our efforts to help this vital community before, during and after disasters.”

This year’s theme, “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” encourages everyone, especially older adults, to become more prepared in three simple steps:

Assess your needs. Everyone has unique needs. There are several factors that can affect the steps you need to take to prepare yourself and those you care for. Whether you care for pets, have children, have a medical condition or have a disability, it is important to know what your family will need to stay safe.

Make a plan. Once you’ve assessed your needs, you can plan for what you’d do, where you’d go and what to bring if a disaster strikes. Your emergency supply kit should include items that meet your individual needs.

Engage your support network. Get to know your neighbors because they, along with your family and friends, can be a support network before, during and after a disaster by providing emotional and practical support.

In recognition of this year’s special focus on older adults, Administrator Criswell signed an agreement today that formalizes the partnership between FEMA and the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers.

“Emergency preparedness is part of the Carter family legacy, with President Jimmy Carter creating FEMA by executive order in 1979. With today’s signing, we honor that legacy by strengthening our partnership with the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers,” said Criswell. “This agreement will enable us to leverage each other’s vast support networks to further support older adults when preparing for disasters and point caregivers to essential resources as well.”

“Bringing caregivers into the conversation about emergency preparedness is the goal of this new partnership,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Chief Executive Officer for the Rosalynn Carter Institute. “We want older adults and their caregivers to know they are not alone before, during, or after a disaster, and for caregivers to be seen and supported critical partners in emergency preparedness. When caregivers and older adults are empowered to work together to prepare for disasters, they are better able to overcome challenges and manage stress.”

Criswell urged FEMA’s 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 and for preparedness messaging, graphics and resources. FEMA created a toolkit with key messaging, graphics and talking points to help our partners uplift and amplify this year’s National Preparedness Month theme.

 Last year, as part of FEMA’s ongoing approach to advance accessibility and cultural competency in boosting the nation’s preparedness, FEMA’s Ready Campaign and the Ad Council created 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.

 For more information on how to prepare yourself, your loved ones and your community, visit


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