Emergency Preparedness for Seniors
EMERGENCY MEASURES ORGANIZATION–Emergency Preparedness forSeniors During a disaster, seniors can be among the most vulnerable.Being prepared can help reduce the fear, panic, and inconveniencethat surrounds a disaster and can make coping easier. Forseniors, being prepared takes some extra planning. Seniors who live independently have more responsibility forthemselves than do seniors living in special-care facilities.With a little awareness and preparation, all seniors can beprepared to protect themselves from the unexpected. Theunexpected may be a power outage, severe weather forcing them tostay in or an accident in the home. A few easy steps can make abig difference. Deborah Naugler, director of Occupational Safety and Protectionat Northwood, recommends having emergency phone numberstaped to the fridge or close to the phone. She says 911 should becalled first in an emergency where the ambulance, fire or policeare needed. “Seniors should also know the name and phone numberof a neighbour, friend or relative who lives close by and who canhelp in an emergency,” said Ms. Naugler. Seniors are also encouraged to contact their local fire or policedepartment administration offices to let officials know that theylive alone and to arrange for someone to check on them during anemergency. These phone numbers can be found in the white pages oflocal phone books. Having important information readily available is crucial andwill make communicating easier during an emergency. Informationsuch as name, next of kin, family doctor and all medicationstaken should be included. This information should be kept on apiece of paper either on the back of the door, near the telephoneor on the refrigerator. Seniors are encouraged to have a few extra items on hand, such asblankets, groceries and medication. A loss of power can mean lossof heat. Seniors, who are often cold, will need extra blankets tostay comfortable. To help plan for an emergency, seniors can ask themselves a fewquestions. Do I have enough medication to last another week or month? Could I survive a few days without power, based on what’s in my kitchen? Do I have someone to check on me in case my phone is down and I can’t leave my house? EMO offers some tips for all Nova Scotians to ensure that seniorsare safe when a disaster strikes: If you have home health-care service, plan ahead with your agency for emergency procedures; Teach those who may need to assist you in an emergency how to operate necessary equipment and be sure they will be able to reach you. “It’s really about neighbours helping neighbours duringemergencies,” says Ernest Fage, Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act. “With a little extra planning all NovaScotians can be better prepared for emergencies.” Mr. Fage encourages all Nova Scotians to have items on hand thatare useful in an emergency. These include a flashlight and extrabatteries, a battery-operated radio, a first-aid kit, a manualcan opener, bottled water and non-perishable food that doesn’thave to be cooked. “Everyone should work out a plan that fits their needs and thatis simple to implement,” says Mr. Fage. “Taking the time toprepare for emergencies can make a big difference.” “Even if you have physical limitations, you can still prepareyourself,” says Mr. Fage. EMO offers these tips: Finally, practice and review your emergency plan. You shouldpractice the plan at least two or three times a year. Emergency Preparedness Week takes place May 2-8 withparticipation from every province and territory. This year’stheme is Prepare Now! Learn How! For more information on beingprepared, visit the Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization’swebsite at www.gov.ns.ca/emo/. -30- include seniors who live near by in your emergency plan; have their phone numbers and emergency contact numbers on hand; meet with them to discuss any medical issues that may be of importance during an emergency.