Hurricane Matthew is expected to hug the First Coast later this week, which means residents should be prepared for heavy rain, wind and surf.

Here's what senior citizens need to know ahead of the storm. Please check on your elderly neighbors before the storm hits.

From the Red Cross

1. Get a kit

For your safety and comfort, have a disaster supplies kit
packed and ready in one place before a disaster hits.
• Assemble enough supplies to last for at least three days.
• Store your supplies in one or more easy-to-carry containers,
such as a backpack or duffel bag.
• You may want to consider storing supplies in a container
that has wheels.
• Be sure your bag has an ID tag.
• Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers,
that you would need with your name, address and phone
• Keeping your kit up-to-date is also important. Review the
contents at least every six months or as your needs change.
Check expiration dates and shift your stored supplies into
everyday use before they expire. Replace food, water and
batteries, and refresh medications and other perishable
items with “first in, first out” practices

2. Make a plan

Meet With Your Family and Friends
Explain your concerns to your family and others in your support network and work with them as a team to prepare. Arrange for someone to check on you at the time of a disaster. Be sure to include any caregivers in your meeting and planning efforts. Assess yourself and your household. What personal abilities
and limitations may affect your response to a disaster? Think about how you can resolve these or other questions and discuss
them with your family and friends. Details are important to ensure your plan fits your needs. Then, practice the planned actions to make sure everything “works.” Family Communications Plan

• Carry family contact information in your wallet.
• Choose an out-of-town contact person. After a disaster, it is often easier to make a long-distance call than a local call from a disaster area.

2. Make a Plan Post Emergency Phone Numbers Near Your Phones (cont.)
Post emergency numbers near all of your phones. Include the numbers of those in your support network. Remember that in some emergencies telephone lines might not be working. Consider having alternative plans for contacting those in your network.

Plan for Those With Disabilities

Keep support items like wheelchairs and walkers in a designated place so they can be found quickly. This step is essential for those who have home-health caregivers, particularly for those who are bed bound.

Plan for Your Pets or Service Animals

Take your pets with you if you evacuate. However, be aware that pets (except service animals) are not permitted in emergency public shelters for health reasons. Prepare a list of family, friends, boarding facilities, veterinarians and ‘pet-friendly’ hotels that could shelter your pets in an emergency.