Don’t get blown away!
Hurricane Safety and Seniors
If you have lived in Florida for some time then you are all too familiar with the proverbial beast that is hurricane season which raises its ugly head every year from June 1st to November 30th. This can be a challenging time in the best of circumstances but even more so for seniors, especially those living with health and mobility issues. The thought a hurricane striking can be overwhelming for many seniors but luckily with a little planning and preparation, it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task.
The most important thing when thinking about hurricane season is to have a plan! Anyone who has lived through a hurricane will know that things can change quickly. Having a plan in place ahead of time helps you to prepare for the unexpected so you will be ready no matter what may happen. The first thing to consider when making plans is whether you will be evacuating or sheltering in place. There are advantages and disadvantages to both so do your research and know what the best choice is for your individual situation.
Whether you plan to evacuate or shelter in place, there are steps you can take now to prepare yourself for any eventuality. First things first, put together a hurricane kit. A well-stocked hurricane kit should have enough supplies to last three days for each person. Some things a kit should include are:
- Water (1 gallon per person, per day)
- Nonperishable food
- A first aid kit
- Flashlights, lanterns and batteries
- A weather radio
- A manual can opener
- Lighter and/or matches
- Portable power supply
- Special needs supplies
- Personal hygiene items
Make sure to secure your important personal documents such as social security cards, drivers license, birth certificate, insurance papers and any medical documents you may have. Put these documents in a water tight container that is easily accessible. Remember to have cash on hand. If the power goes out, credit cards and ATM’s will not work so get cash out of the bank ahead of time.
Now that you have yourself prepared, it’s time to think of your property. Whether you plan to stay or leave, you will need to secure your home and property. This can be difficult for seniors who are not capable of doing things such as putting up hurricane shutters or clearing yard debris. Seek out a local handyman or landscape service now and establish a relationship so when the time comes, you will have help with the strenuous tasks.
After you have your hurricane kit and your handyman set up, it’s time to talk to your doctor and pharmacist. As we all know with age comes more doctors’ visits and prescription medications. It’s an unfortunate reality of living longer but can present a new challenge when thinking about hurricane preparedness. If you take medications, even over the counter ones, make sure you have an extra supply on hand during hurricane months. For prescription medication, speak with your doctor and pharmacist about having an extra supply. If refrigeration is necessary for your medicines make sure you have a plan for keeping them cold when the power goes out. For those who are dependent on life saving equipment such as oxygen, talk to your doctor to know what steps you can take to safe guard against power disruptions.
For some people who are dependent on special medical equipment, you may need to consider evacuating to a special needs shelter that is capable of providing for your medical conditions. The state of Florida has several special needs shelters available but you will need to register ahead of time to guarantee a spot. You can register by visiting snr.flhealthresponse.com If you are unsure about whether you need a special needs shelter, talk to your doctor.
A hurricane can be a scary situation but with a little preparation, it doesn’t have to be. Do your research, stay informed, and have a plan so you don’t get blown away!
For more information you can visit some of the following sites:
Safe planning everyone!