When emergencies happen, it's important to be prepared.

That preparation takes place at the community level, but also at the family and individual levels, said Thomas Tighe, the CEO of Direct Relief, a humanitarian nonprofit organization.

Direct Relief complements state, local and federal emergency response, Tighe said. It also operates internationally.

One step people can take is making sure their needed medications are ready.

"From a health and medical perspective, I think the people who take medication for their chronic conditions, those are the people who find themselves in crisis in many evacuation scenarios," said Tighe. "Because they're fine on a normal day, but if the diabetes or asthma or hypertension becomes unmanaged for lack of medication for a few days, those are the people who find themselves in acute crisis."

He also encourages people to know their medications and dosages in case they need to be replaced.