In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, seniors are especially vulnerable. You may find yourself unable to escape an emergency situation, or unable to access the help you need. It’s a frightening thought, but there are some things you can do to prepare yourself for possible emergencies.
Good emergency preparedness can quite literally be a matter of life and death. Follow our easy, practical tips to help you prepare for the unexpected.
Know Your Risks
Think about the risks you need to prepare for. Some of these depend on your location. If your local area is prone to flooding, hurricanes, blizzards, forest fires or extreme weather, you will want to prepare for those.
There are other risks that all seniors can prepare for regardless of location, such as home fires, leaking pipes, or medical emergencies.
Check Local Resources
Learn about disaster resources in your local community. Are there emergency shelter locations? How about evacuation response plans? Find out how local authorities will issue alerts in the case of natural disasters or extreme weather.
Write out a list of emergency numbers and keep it to hand. You might like to include:
• Local police department
• Local fire department
• Poison control
• Your doctor
• Nearby hospitals
• Power supplier
• Water supplier
• Animal control
• Local locksmith
• Nearest vet, if you have pets
Have A Plan
When disaster strikes, it’s not easy to think straight. Write out an emergency plan and keep it somewhere accessible. Include information on:
• Escape routes in the event of fire or flood. Plan how to escape from each room in your house and try to plan at least two routes out of your home. Practice these regularly.
• Where to go and who to call in the event of a natural disaster.
• Your list of emergency numbers. Include a list of who to call depending on the disaster at hand.
• A communication plan for your family or carers. Think about how you would all get in touch if the worst happened.
Make A Kit
An emergency kit can get you through a disaster and keep you safe until help arrives. Put together a kit that has everything you need for three days.
Be sure to include the following:
• Enough non perishable food for three days
• A can opener
• Plenty of bottled water
• A wind up or battery powered flashlight
• A wind up or battery powered radio
• Enough of your medications for three days
• First aid kit
• Waterproof matches
• Toilet paper and moist towelettes
• Blankets and spare clothes
• Cell phone charger
• Spare car and house keys
• Cash and coins
• Spare glasses or contact lenses solution if you need them
• Spare hearing aid batteries if you need them
• A Swiss army knife
Keep your kit somewhere accessible. You might like to create an additional portable overnight kit with medications, hygiene items and spare clothes and blankets in the event that you need to be evacuated overnight.
Build A Support Network
Talk to local friends, neighbors or even community organizations about what to do in an emergency. Build a support network of people who will check on you, and who you will check on, if something happens.
Make sure the people in your support network know about any medications you take and other needs you have. Write out an emergency contact card with details of medicines, allergies, special needs and emergency contact details to give to family and friends.
Invest In An Alert System
A medical alert system can make all the difference in the event of a medical emergency. There are many systems on the market (check out our list of recommendations here). You can buy a traditional base unit, a wearable pendant, or choose a company that uses a cellular network or even a mobile app.
No one can know when a disaster or emergency will strike. Give yourself peace of mind by making a plan now so if something happens you know what to do and how to keep yourself safe until help arrives.