Hurricane season is upon us, and that means it’s time to start preparing for natural disasters. While everyone must stay vigilant during this time, it’s important to remember that seniors and those with disabilities are particularly vulnerable during emergencies.
Today, we’ll explore essential emergency procedures that caregivers need to know. They can use these to better provide safe care for seniors and other vulnerable individuals during hurricanes and other natural disasters. Let’s get started!
Gather Important Information and Communicate
To ensure the safety of seniors, caregivers should prepare a list with at least the following information:
- Contact information: Make a list of family members and their locations, doctors, and pharmacies.
- Shelter locations: Gather the names and addresses of local shelter locations, especially those catering to skilled medical needs.
- Emergency kit: Create a list of evacuation items, such as medications, medical devices, and administration information.
- Printed copies: Prepare hard copies of important documents in case the digital versions are inaccessible.
- Medication list: Laminate medication lists to prevent them from being ruined in a storm or torn apart during packing.
- Communication chain: Establish multiple contacts for medical and logistical assistance, paying attention to the special medical needs of the senior residents.
The list above lays the foundation for a well-rounded preparedness plan. Long-term care caregivers should also communicate with family members and loved ones before an emergency to reduce stress and confusion should a hurricane hit.
Prepare Emergency Supplies
The governmental and emergency services agencies recommend preparing the following items before a hurricane or other disaster.
- Food and water: When preparing appropriate food supplies, consider the following rations:
- Stock non-perishable goods, like canned food, protein bars, dried fruits, and dried granola
- Gather ready-to-eat food that can be heated using alternative cooking methods, such as candle warmers, fondue pots, or a fireplace
- Prepare at least one gallon of water per person per day
- Home emergency kit: Some recommended items include:
- Spare batteries
- First-aid kit
- Manual can opener
- Dust mask
- Local maps
- Battery-powered radio
- Wrench or pliers
- Pet supplies
Understand the Evacuation Process
When the local authorities declare a mandatory evacuation order, evacuating immediately is crucial. Failure to do so can lead to costly consequences, including travel delays and an increased risk of getting caught in a hurricane.
The initial step in creating an evacuation plan involves ensuring you are up to date about the evacuation procedures, such as knowing where your evacuation point is or which skilled medical needs shelters to relocate to.
These skilled medical shelters are typically organized at the county level and have the resources to assist senior residents requiring special medical needs. To ensure a smoother transition of care, it is advised that caregivers gather this information in advance.
Another critical step is communicating effectively with family members to ensure they understand the evacuation strategy and can assist when possible. By establishing a communication schedule that includes check-in times and designated emergency meeting points, caregivers can ensure seniors and their families stay connected during the evacuation, which will reduce stress and agitation.
What Happens After a Hurricane?
Once a hurricane has passed, the potential danger still persists. Therefore, it is essential to have a good plan for this phase of the emergency. Caregivers must establish safety procedures to return to the long-term care facility.
Using electrical equipment may be hazardous, while the structural integrity of buildings may have been compromised. Caregivers should prepare protective gear to prevent potential health issues like mold exposure or respiratory problems.
The government’s hurricane preparedness resources pack provides a comprehensive list for dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane and advises caregivers to formulate a comprehensive plan for every step of the process, thereby minimizing unnecessary risks and stress.
Ensuring Safety During a Hurricane
Being inherently unpredictable, hurricanes present a unique set of challenges for caregivers, but the specific requirements for weathering a hurricane’s storm are well-documented. There is ample information and resources accessible to caregivers, including those caring for seniors with special needs.
For more information on how to better prepare for hurricane season, see the links below:
- National Hurricane Preparedness
- Hurricane Preparedness
- Hurricane Safety
- Hurricane Preparedness and Response
- Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storm
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