Disaster Planning for the Elderly

Evacuation planning PSA, statewide campaign focuses on critical issues senior citizens must consider for disaster preparedness in their homes

SACRAMENTO, California- In an effort to raise awareness of special safety measures senior citizens must take when planning for a disaster, the California Fire Foundation is launching a statewide campaign aimed at educating senior citizens about the importance of taking special precautions when making an evacuation plan.

The “Disaster Planning for the Elderly” campaign is designed to teach senior citizens, their families and caregivers how to make sure all needs are taken into consideration. While having an emergency supply of food and water, mapped out evacuation routes and emergency contacts are standard in any evacuation plan, senior citizens must take medical conditions and physical limitations into consideration when planning for possible disaster.

“In California, fire season lasts the entire year. We’ve seen massive areas engulfed in fire in a matter of minutes. Additionally, earthquakes and floods are an ongoing cause for concern and highlight the need to be prepared to evacuate safely with a moment’s notice,” said Lou Paulson, Chair of the California Fire Foundation and also an Active Fire Captain. “In addition to traditional items, older adults should incorporate medication lists and neighbors who can assist them in their evacuation plans.”

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), 1,200 senior citizens are killed from fire related incidents and injuries each year and over 13 million senior citizens across America report that they would need assistance of others to evacuate properly. Additionally, NFPA stresses the unique needs for medication and medical care that can be fatal if left untreated in an emergency.

The “Disaster Planning for the Elderly” campaign encourages senior citizens to plan ahead and be prepared. It also offers tools through its Web site and in print to put these plans into motion.

“An evacuation plan, complete with vital medical information and designated individuals for assistance is something easy that every senior citizen should have,” continues Paulson. “It could mean the difference between safety or injury and death.”

For more information on disaster planning for the elderly, visit www.firefightersonyourside.org.

The California Fire Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Sacramento, California that oversees the California Firefighters Memorial in Capitol Park. It is dedicated to assisting families of fallen firefighters, victims of natural disaster and providing public education about fires and fire safety.