Preparedness for seniors by seniors

• Assemble a disaster supply kit.
• 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.
• Have emergency supplies packed and ready in one place before disaster strikes.

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 backpack 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 and oxygen
• List of the style and serial numbers of medical devices such as pacemakers
• Medical insurance and medicare cards
• List of doctors and emergency contacts
• Other needed items

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 and change for pay phones.
• Personal hygiene supplies
• Phone numbers for local and non-local relatives or friends (in case you are injured)
• Insurance agent’s name and number food and water Emergency Supplies
• Recommended water supply is 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 supplies including any special foods you require. Choose foods that are easy to store and carry, nutritious and ready to eat.  Be sure to rotate them regularly.
• Include a manual can-opener you are able to use.
• Remember, non-perishable food for all pets.

Going to a shelter may be necessary

Red Cross shelters 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 your local Red Cross Chapter (emergency services provided are free of charge)

If You Need To Evacuate
• Coordinate with your home care provider for evacuation procedures.
• Try to carpool, if possible.
• If you must have assistance for special transportation, call your local officials or 211.
• Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
• Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
• Lock all windows and doors in your home.
• Use the travel routes specified or special assistance provided by the local officials. Don’t take any short cuts, since 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 leave and where you  are going.
• Make arrangements for pets; animals other than working animals may not be allowed in public shelters.

Contact your Office of Emergency Managers (OEM) to register for a special needs shelter.


If you’re not able to function without assistance, you need to make some plans where that kind of support is available.

For a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, a disruption of routine or an evacuation to a shelter can be extremely stressful. The newsletter of the Alzheimer’s Family Organization offers these tips:

Make sure someone outside the storm area has the patient’s identification, medical and contact information.

Make sure the patient has identification. The AFO offers Wanderer’s Identification bracelets and necklaces in case the patient becomes lost or separated from a caregiver. Contact the AFO toll-free 1-888-496-8004 for information.

If you choose not to evacuate, prepare a hurricane kit with at least a two-week supply of medication, a list of dosages and instructions, first aid supplies and important phone numbers.

If a caregiver decides to remain at home, it is important that the person with Alzheimer’s or

dementia has enough activities, especially if the power goes out. Plan to do things that will keep the patient calm.

The constant surge of television and radio reports are vital during emergencies. But the steady replays of storm images can be upsetting to someone who doesn’t understand that the same images are being repeated.

People with dementia and Alzheimer’s pick up on the vibes around them. If caregivers and others are calm and collected, they will be too.

On the Web

Go to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website for info on Disaster Preparedness. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Disaster Preparedness Guide for Elders contains information about various types of disasters.