Preparing for a health-related emergency often seems par for the course when caring for senior loved ones, but have you and your loved one considered the need to create an emergency plan to prepare for a weather-related disaster?
Of course, living in Arizona may eliminate some disasters such as tornados or tsunamis; however, there are a number of potential environmental disasters that everyone should prepare for, such as extreme heat, power outages, monsoons, thunderstorms and floods.
The American Red Cross and the ADHS Arizona Department of Health Services have shared the following public safety tips to help create an emergency plan to keep seniors safe.
- Organize a support network. Perhaps the most essential element of creating an emergency plan for seniors is developing a support network, consisting of friends and family members, who will check in on one another during an emergency. If a home care agency, such as Nightingale Homecare, is involved in your loved one’s care, they should be included in this support network. At Nightingale Homecare, we ensure that all patients are contacted during an emergency and have a plan in place to keep them safe.
Immediately following an emergency or disaster, the support team should get in contact with your loved one, via phone, text, email, message via another support member, or physical contact to ensure your loved one’s safety and determine what they can do to help. It is important to designate an out of state support person to communicate messages to those in the same disaster area. When local lines are busy, sometimes long distance lines are easier to reach.
- Share information and keys. Your loved one’s support network should have a set of keys to the senior’s home, a list of all physicians, health information, a current list of medications the senior is taking, and insurance information. The network should also have a plan where to meet following a disaster if there is no way to communicate. The plan should include at least two emergency meeting locations, in the event the first is not accessible, to help expedite response in an emergency.
- Emergency supplies. Your loved one should have an updated emergency supply kit that is assessed and updated at least bi-annually. Your loved one’s support network should know where these supplies are kept and what is in the kit. Some items that should be in the kit include:
- A list of the support network and contact numbers
- Fully charged cell phone
- Extra clothing, including sturdy shoes
- Flashlight with batteries
- A hand-crank or battery-powered radio
- First aid kit
- Moist towelettes or baby wipes and other personal care items
- Wrench or plyers to turn off utilities
- Bottled water (at least a 3-day supply per person – more during warmer months)
- Water treatment tablets
- At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable foods, including a manual can opener and compact eating/cooking tools
- Medications and medical supplies for at least a week
- Tarp, tent, poncho
- Facemasks to filter contaminated air
- Matches in a waterproof container
- A detailed list of the emergency plan
- Paper and pencils
- Copies of important documents in a waterproof container or sealed plastic bag
This kit should be taken with your loved one in the event that she/he should need to evacuate the home.
Keeping seniors safe during an emergency is of the utmost importance. For more tips on keeping your senior loved ones safe at all times, including in the event of a disaster, contact the Arizona home care experts at Nightingale Homecare.