Every time you turn on the news, one of the major topics is disaster. House fires, tornadoes and extreme heat are just a few examples of situations that many people are not ready for. While getting prepared takes some time and planning, it's especially important for seniors as they may require additional assistance. Read on to learn how you can better prepare for potential emergencies.
Know potential emergencies
Every location has a different set of emergencies that may occur. Coastal areas, for example, may be at risk of hurricanes while inland regions are more likely to experience tornados. Do you know the potential risks in your area? Consider weather disasters like drought, blizzards or earthquakes as well as terrorist attacks and house fires. You can learn about where you live by looking at past weather trends and talking with community members or contacting the non-emergency line at the local police or fire department.
While a younger person may be able to quickly run from his or her home in the event of a fire, you may not be as mobile. If you're on the second floor, for example, and you are in a wheelchair, how will you get to safety? Make sure that your home is equipped with mobility assistance such as a chair lift on the stairs. Assisted living communities are built with this in mind and have ramps as well as elevators to make entering and exiting all buildings a simple task.
The doors in your home should be wide enough to allow for a wheelchair or walker to pass through. A fire escape ladder may not be the best choice if you don't have full use of your arms and legs. If safety becomes an issue, this is when you might consider moving from your own home to a senior living community that has ample amenities as well as emergency preparedness.
Know where to go
If you live with other people, talk about creating a meeting space that is a safe distance away from your home. This way you can tell if everyone exited the house or apartment or if you need to get assistance immediately. What if there is a weather phenomena like a tornado or a hurricane? Do you have a basement or other area of your home without windows to retreat to? Is there higher ground that offers a safer place to wait out the storm? Discuss different potential emergencies with your loved ones to come up with survival plans.
Compile an emergency kit
In the event that you had to leave your home in five minutes, what would you take along? You might say nostalgic items like photos. While these are important, an emergency kit should contain only necessities. Create a small bag of items such as important documents (e.g., birth certificates, insurance policies), prescription medications, hearing aids, nonperishable food and water. This way you can grab it on your way out if an emergency occurs.