It is important for everyone to be prepared for a disaster but it is particularly important for seniors. Many seniors live alone. If this is the case you need to add an extra step to your disaster planning and establish a personal support network. This is a group of individuals that agree to check on one another should a disaster strike.
There are seven things that you must discuss and implement with your network in order to be prepared:
- Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
- Exchange keys they may need to enter your home incase you are incapacitated and unable to let them in.
- Show them where you keep all emergency supplies in your home.
- Make and keep copies of your relevant emergency documents and make sure your network knows where these are located.
- Agree on methods other than phones to contact one another in an emergency. Phone lines and Internet could be down.
- Always notify one another when you are out of town. This will help them if a disaster strikes to know where you are.
- Know that the relationship is mutual and you are all responsible for one another.
Aside from your support network the American Red Cross advises everyone to Store these items in easy to carry containers near the exit of your home.
-Three-day supply of food (non-perishable, canned or boxed)
– Manual can opener
-Three-day supply of water (They recommend 1 gallon per person per day)
– Flashlight and extra batteries
– First aid kit
– Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, toilet paper and other hygiene items
– Matches in a waterproof container
– Whistle (for communication: 1 blow for “Yes”, 2 for “ No”, and 3 for “Help”)
– Extra cloths and blankets
-Photocopies of identification cards and other important documents
– Cash and Coins
– Medical Supplies
– Garbage bags and duct tape
– Pet supplies (if you have one)
They recommend that you update your kit once a year and as your needs change. Water needs to be replaced every 6 months.