Hurricane season officially started June 1, and while most meteorologists have predicted a "normal" season of hurricane activity, a depression in the Gulf has already formed and became Tropical Storm Colin before heading to sea.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson said that while everyone needs to have a plan ready in case of a hurricane, he encourages seniors to take extra precautions.
"The first thing that we want seniors to know is that they need to stay informed," Smithson said.
One of the best ways for seniors to do this, he said, is to use the Internet.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
"Seniors need to learn how to use social media," he said. "MEMA uses Facebook and Twitter to put out information quickly. You may see something on Facebook before you will see it in the Sun Herald or on TV."
Smithson said it's important for seniors to have an evacuation plan ready to roll out in case of the threat of a hurricane.
"You need to have a plan to leave and they need to let their family and friends know where they are going," he said.
"This is especially important for people who have home health care, because the medical-needs shelter is in Stone County."
Those planning to go to shelters, Smithson said, should do some advance planning.
"If you plan on going to a shelter, call the emergency management directors in your county to get directions and information on the shelter, including whether or not they will accept pets," he said.
Plan for medications
Another area Smithson said seniors should take extra precautions with is medications.
"There were a lot of pharmacies destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and we learned a lot about people and their medications."
He said calling your physician is the first step toward ensuring you will have the necessary medicine.
"We learned after Katrina that people were running out of medicines, so we recommend having your physician prescribe you a month's supply in case of emergency," Smithson said. "It's also a good idea to get a medical ID bracelet so that responders will know if you have any medical issues."
Smithson said seniors also should have copies of important documents at their disposal.
"Get insurance papers, mortgage papers, wills -- any important documents they have and make copies of them and put them in your kit," he said. "It's also a good idea to have a copy of them available online."