Senior citizens should have a personal support network comprised of multiple individuals who can check on them in an emergency and provide assistance as needed. This network can include family, friends, roommates, co-workers and neighbors.
Set Up a Personal Network
- Designate someone who will check up on your after a disaster or emergency.
- Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in case of an emergency, should telephones be unavailable.
- Share copies of your relevant emergency documents and health information with your support network.
- Exchange copies of your keys, should someone need to check on you at home.
- If you live in a shared community, familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures.
- Think about what modes of transportation you use and what alternate modes could serve as back up. If you require handicap accessible transportation, be sure you establish safe and accesible alternatives.
- Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the emergency, you’ll have to decide whether to stay or go. Monitor television and radio reports for official instructions and use common sense to determine if there is any immediate danger.
- If you’re instructed to evacuate, do so immediately. Ensure that you have designated your options for evacuating ahead of time, with secure escape routes and multiple fire exits as part of your plan. If there is any furniture or hazards that could keep you from safely evacuating your home, enlist someone in your personal support network to help prepare your home in advance.
- Ensure that you have a Go Bag prepared in case of an emergency. This bag should contain basics for survival – food, water, important documents, medical supplies and medication. You should also consider additional items specific to your personal needs, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids or supplemental batteries.
- Consider your pets and service animals in case of an emergency. If you must evacuate, take your pets with you.
- Wearing medical alert tags or bracelets that identify you or your medical needs can also be a crucial aid in an emergency situation.
- In the possible event of your personal support network being unreachable, consider options like a subscription to LifeLine, an alert service provided by the Red Cross.