Individual preparedness is one step leading up to a larger issue- community preparedness. Communities that create plans in the chance of an emergency tend to have better protected individuals and recover quicker from devastation. It is the job of public health officials to inform the public of steps to take incase a disaster strikes. While it may seem self explanatory to ensure that all community members are guaranteed equal safety, this is not true for all regions. There is an evident trend that exists for those who are most at risk as compared to everyone else in the community.
There are specific groups of individuals that can evacuate more easily before a disaster reaches the community. In particular, these "at risk" groups include the elderly, those with disabilities, and people who speak different languages and have difficulty understanding the directions that officials tell the public to follow. For instance, over half of the deaths caused by Hurricane Sandy occurred to people over the age of 65. There are many reasons as to why most of the victims tended to come from this group, although in 28% of the cases it was due to lack of assistance or access to resources.
In the event of evacuation, it is important for the community to be aware of individuals in the area who may require more assistance. To put it into perspective, 13% of Americans are over the age of 65, and out of this percentage 16% do not have health insurance and 19% suffer from a disability. Little actions such as signing someone up in a local database can be a tremendous help to those who have difficulty helping themselves. Watching out for those who need aid can impact community planning in a positive way and save the lives of others in the long run.