Preparedness for seniors by seniors

Advice for senior citizens on how to prepare for a hurricane:

* Assemble disaster supplies.
* Arrange for someone to check on you.
* Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home.
* Plan for transportation if you need to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter.
* Find the safe place in your home for each type of emergency.
* Have a plan to signal the need for help.
* Post emergency phone numbers near the phone.
* 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. Be sure they will be able to reach you. 

You should assemble enough supplies to last at least three days

* Assemble the supplies you would need in an evacuation, both medical and general supplies.
* Store them in an easy-to-carry container such as a back pack or duffel bag.
* Be sure your bag has an ID tag.
* Label any equipment, such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers that you would need.

For your medical needs:

* First aid kit.
* Prescription medicines, list of medications including dosage, list of any allergies.
* Extra eyeglasses and hearing aid batteries.
* Extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen.
* List of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers.
* MedIcal insurance and medicare cards.
* List of doctors and relative or friend who should be notified if you are injured.
* Any other items you may need.

General Emergency Supplies:

* Battery powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries for each.
* Change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes.
* Blanket or sleeping bag.
* Extra set of keys.
* Cash, credit cards, change for the pay phones.
* Personal hygiene supplies.
* Phone numbers or local and non-local relatives or friends.
* Insurance agent's name and number.
* Water supply -- one gallon per day per person. Remember, plan for at least 3 days. Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers that you are able to handle. Identify the storage date and replace every 6 months.
* Non-perishable food supply including any special foods you require. Choose foods that are easy to store and carry, nutritious and ready to eat, rotate regularly.
* Manual can opener you are able to use.
* Non-perishable food for any pets.

Going to a shelter may be necessary Red Cross shelter may be opened if:

* A disaster affects a large number of people.
* The emergency is expected to last several days.

Be prepared to go to a shelter if:

* Your area is without electrical power.
* There is a chemical emergency affecting your area.
* Flood water is rising.
* Your home has been severely damaged.
* Police or other local officials tell you to evacuate.

Services provided at a Red Cross shelter:

* Food
* Temporary shelter
* Basic First Aid

To learn about Red Cross shelters serving your area:

* Listen to your battery powered radio.
* Check with your local Red Cross Chapter.

Note: All American Red Cross emergency services are provided free of charge.

If you need to evacuate:

* Coordinate with your home care provider for evacuation procedures,
* Try to car pool if possible.
* If you must have assistance for special transportation call the American Red Cross or your local officials.
* Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
* Take your disaster supplies kit .
* Lock your home.
* Use the travel routes specified or special assistance provided by the local officials. Don't take any short cuts, they may be unsafe.
* Notify shelter authorities of any need you may have. They will do their best to accommodate you and make you comfortable.

If you are sure you have enough time:

* Shut off water, gas and electricity IF instructed to do so and IF you know how. Gas must be turned back on by a professional.
* Let others know when you left and where you are going.
* Make arrangements for pets, Animals other than working animals may now be allowed in public shelters.


The Area Agency on Aging introduces the "AAA Help Alert" door hanger emergency tool. It's designed to alert neighbors, first responders and aid workers that a senior needs immediate help following a hurricane.

Free to area seniors, the brightly colored two-sided door hanger/window card carries a clear, simple message to alert neighbors, and aid workers that a senior needs help or is OK and requires no assistance.

Area Agency on Aging

(561) 684-5885 local

1-866-684-5885 toll-free