Older adults are especially vulnerable during a disaster. Impaired mobility and chronic health problems are just two potential limitations that may interfere with their ability to evacuate successfully in the event of an emergency.
With this in mind, California’s firefighters have put together the following tips to help you or your caregiver be prepared for an emergency.
1. Develop a Communications Plan:
• Get to know your neighbors so they can check in on you in the event of a disaster.
• Have an emergency contacts list of loved ones in case you are a victim of a disaster.
• Make a contact list that fits in your wallet. This can be a copy of your emergency contacts if it is small enough.
2. Take Health Precautions:
• List all health conditions in an easy to access place. Medical ID bracelets are particularly effective.
• Make a list of all medications that you are taking.
• Have a two-week supply of medications. Store it in a safe, easily accessible place either at your home or the home of a trusted family member, friend or neighbor.
3. Plan your Evacuation:
• Always evacuate immediately after you are notified to do so.
• If you don’t drive, have a pre-designated person (preferably a neighbor) that will help you evacuate.
• Ask your local authorities if they have an evacuation plan. If so, keep a map of these routes in your car or planned transportation.
• Ask local authorities where you can go for an emergency supply of medication or emergency medical care when away from your local surroundings.
• Make sure you know what a reverse 9-1-1 call is. This system automatically dials residents to warn them in advance of a disaster.
4. Prepare an Evacuation Kit:
• Have an extra two-week supply of medication on hand. Keep the original packaging. An empty bottle of pills will help local authorities obtain your medication during a disaster.
• List all medications you are taking (over-the-counter and prescription), in case bottles are lost.
• Ask your doctor for a note documenting all of your medical conditions and how they are treated. Include a copy of this in your kit.
• Pack duplicate medical equipment. Make sure you have a spare blood glucose monitoring system, blood pressure cuff, hearing aid batteries, oxygen, etc. in case your original one breaks or runs out of charge.
• Make sure a neighbor, friend or loved one has a duplicate list of your medical conditions and medications. Indicate who this is on your emergency contact list.
• Basic supplies such as a three-day supply of food and water, maps, clothing, blankets, toiletries, cash and a first aid kit should be included. Also include important documents such as wills, deeds, bank account information and tax records. Make sure a designated neighbor knows where your supplies are and can assist you with transporting them during an evacuation.