We live in a four-season area and with autumn here and winter not far off, it seems like the perfect time to ask: Do you have an emergency preparedness plan?
Studies show that the vast majority of seniors, though they know they need a strategy, aren’t sure where to start or what all is included in their own preparedness plan.
Seniors often face unique challenges during an emergency. For example, they may have mobility issues or chronic health problems and no one nearby to help out. Or they may receive support services, like Meals on Wheels, that aren’t able to make it out for an extended period of time.
Other issues, such as difficulty hearing or reading, may make it impossible to access or understand emergency instructions, even if they are provided.
The key to successfully getting through a major snowstorm, nor’ easter, heavy rain, flood, hurricane or other natural disasters is to have a plan in place that you review regularly – and make loved ones aware of.
Read more articles on ‘Seniors’ here: https://www.theconnectionsnj.com/category/seniors/
Build a personal support network
The American Red Cross suggests creating a personal support network made up of several individuals that will check in on you during an emergency to ensure your wellness and safety.
There are seven steps they recommend you discuss and implement with your network:
- Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
- Exchange important keys.
- Show them where you keep emergency supplies.
- Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans, and emergency health information card.
- Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.
- You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.
- The relationship should be mutual. Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency.
If you have neighbors that you’re close with, they make great additions to your support network, since they’re already nearby.
Create an emergency supply kit
After an emergency, you may not have access to clean water or electricity. And, even though you have a support network, it may take a little while for anyone to be able to reach you. Experts suggest being prepared with enough food, water, medications, and other essential items to last for at least 72 hours (some say 7 to 10 days).
At the most basic level, your kit should include: non-perishable foods, bottled water, medications, spare clothing, pet food (if you have pets), extra keys to your house and car, glasses or contact lenses, first aid kit, waterproof matches, flashlight and batteries, Swiss Army knife, can opener, basic toiletries, cash, cell phone charger, spare hearing aid batteries, battery-powered radio and whistle to signal for help.
Also, consider creating a care plan and keeping a copy in your emergency supply kit for first responders so they can be made aware of any special needs.
Familiarize yourself with local resources
Whether you’re a senior yourself or a loved one/caregiver, it’s important to familiarize yourself with local resources before a disaster takes place. Most areas should have an emergency shelter nearby, planned escape routes, and a viable source of medical assistance. In addition, you should also have contact information for your local: police department, fire department, hospitals, water company, power company, animal control, and poison control.
Enjoy the change of seasons and stay safe!