SENIOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
MAKE A KIT AND PLAN OF ACTION
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST
12 TIPS FOR THE ELDERLY
SENIOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS LINKS
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Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable during
emergency situations – hurricanes, floods, tornadoes,
even heat waves. Sixty (60) percent of people who
died in Louisiana as a result of Hurricane Katrina
were older than 60.
Disaster preparedness can seem daunting but it’s
certainly doable. Thankfully, there are resources
available towards helping the elderly.
“Getting prepared for disasters is something that can
be quite easy, it’s a positive experience and you’ll
feel good about it when you’re done,” says Alicia
Blater, a graduate student in University of North
Carolina-Greensboro’s Gerontology program who created
a disaster preparedness guide for senior center
directors and others who work with older adults.
“It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.”
Living in a Facility
If your elderly loved one is in a managed
care facility or senior neighborhood, Blater
suggests talking about emergency preparedness
with facility staff and management.
1. Ask to see a copy of the disaster plan.
“Most facilities have a plan and make sure that
the staff is well advised and well trained on
what to do in an emergency,” says Stacy English,
Marketing Director of Home Instead Senior Care.
“But family members need to ask questions when
they do admit their mom or dad to the facility.”
EXPERT TIP: Improve the Info
Facilities might say they have a plan, but when
families and staff are sitting down and sharing
plans, the information can improve.
2. Start the disaster discussion.
When you’re talking with a senior facility staff,
Blater suggests asking things like ‘How can I help
my family member be more prepared?’ or ‘Can I tell
you what I’m doing and can we help each other out?’
EXPERT TIP: Ask LOTS of Questions
Ask the facility about the logistics of the plan.
How do staff help residents on upper levels get
down stairs in an emergency situation?
How do staff help less mobile patients?
Who is in charge of making the evacuation decision?
If a facility is located near the coast line, do
they have connections with facilities inland?
Which ones and where?
Make sure that the emergency plan has layers and
complexities to it to see that they’ve thought
it all through.
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Whether someone is living in a senior care facility
or on their own, they need a ‘grab and go’ kit and
an understanding of the evacuation plan of action.
1. Grab and Go Kit
Start the disaster preparedness conversation by
talking about a Grab and Go Kit. This is important
in facility living or independent living.
Home Grab-and-Go Kit
If you were forced to evacuate your home and you
only had three minutes, what would you grab?
Make it easier on yourself by creating a Grab-and-Go kit!
This is a kit packed with all the most important possessions
and vital items for you and your family.
To create your Grab-and-Go kit, read through the items listed
below first and think about where they’re currently located.
Then, print this out, gather the items and place them in a
bag (backpack, duffle, suitcase) or container (plastic tub,
banker’s box, safe, etc.). Make sure the container or bag you
choose is sturdy and possibly water-proof in case of flooding
or other water damage (i.e. water from fire hoses).
Many of these items are similar to those found in
home preparedness kit.
1. Cash (at least $100 – ATMs might not work in an
emergency), credit cards, checks, IDs
2. Cell phone and extra charger
3. Clothing for each family member for a week
(grab extra items for winter)
4. Extra set of house and car keys
5. Family heirlooms, jewelry, art, anything else
that has sentimental value and is “irreplaceable”
6. Home videos and photos, digital camera memory cards
7. Important papers (i.e. birth certificates, insurance
policies, marriage certificates, house deeds, passports,
8. Medications and other special needs (enough for a week
9. Store this kit in an accessible place (like the closet
by your front door, under your bed, in the pantry). Tell
your family members about the location and importance of
this kit, and when to grab it!
10. Remember to update your kit or check on its location
at least once a month. You don’t want to look for the kit
when you’re in a hurry!
EXPERT TIP: Grab that Birthday and Go!
When parents, grandparents or older friends and relatives
get hard to buy for, preparedness items are great birthday
gifts! Get flashlights, extra batteries, bottled water -
things they’d probably never buy for themselves.
2. Make the Plan
Think each disaster preparedness plan through,
especially in an area where hurricanes, tornadoes,
blizzards or storms are common.
Answer these questions to get yourself thinking:
If a hurricane is pending, who will help evacuate?
If a tornado or severe storm warning is issued, who
will call your older relative/friend to tell them to
get into a safe location? Who will take them there?
Do you need to find someone to check on your older
relative/friend every now and then, especially before
and after severe weather? “It’s best to have a team
of people to help because you don’t know whose going
to be able to help and when,” says Pharr.
If you’re talking with a senior who lives independently,
talk about what plans they may already have, such as a
place to go, contact information for nearby neighbors,
3. Need More Planning?
We’ve got it for you! We’ve pulled together some smart
ideas from experts and people around the country on
Create an Emergency Exit Plan
Get Prepared: Tornadoes
Get Prepared: Floods
Get Prepared: Hurricanes
Get Prepared: Earthquakes
Get Prepared: Blizzards
Revisit Your Plans
Blater stresses that while you may have made
disaster preparedness plans for the entire
family, revisit them!
“Six month out on your calendar, write ‘Let’s
check Mom’s kit’,” says Blater. This is when
you’ll update the kit with fresh water, food,
contact information, and up-to-date medications.
“It’s a continual process to stay prepared.
Often we have new phone numbers, jobs, mediations
– much more than we used to.”
Even if you do not have the time to devote to
a full disaster plan, every little bit helps.
“There’s lots of power in having what we need
to be prepared and peace of mind knowing that
loved ones are cared for,” Blater says. “We
can’t do everything but we can do our best.”
Additional helpful resources on
What Happens Now.com
Get Prepared â€“ Senior Living
Seniors and Disaster Preparedness
Seniors and Disaster Preparedness
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Both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and the American Red Cross advise that seniors whether
living independently, or in an assisted living facility,
should have an emergency plan and an emergency kit. Both
should be reviewed at six monthly intervals.
Family members and other relevant agencies, such as a
community response team should be aware of the plan,
and the whereabouts of the kit.
The senior citizen should write down an emergency plan,
and prepare an emergency kit. She should review her home,
and ensure she has an exit route, which is kept clear
and accessible. If there are other people in the house,
the family should have an agreed meeting point, just
outside the house, and also outside the neighborhood.
A senior in an assisted living facility should discuss
her plan with the manager and with her neighbors, and
should tell them where her emergency kit is stored.
The senior person should have enough water and food
in the house to last for at least three days. This
should be stored safely, and should include canned
food and a can opener. He should make provision for
any medication he needs to take, writing a list of
medicines and dosages. He should have a flashlight
and batteries which are always kept in the same
His first aid kit should be also in an accessible
place. His emergency kit should include a cell
phone, with batteries and charger, and a radio.
The senior needs to make a plan for the evacuation
of his dog, cat or other pet.
It is a good idea to make copies of medical insurance,
wills, inventory of household goods, and marriage and
birth certificates. Paper copies of these documents
can also be made and stored in a waterproof pouch. The
older person may want to store special photographs or
the negatives in a safe accessible place, or take
copies and save them on a remote computer.
Any household which includes a wheelchair user, or
a person with poor mobility should make sure that
access to and from the house is adequate and kept
clear. The senior citizen should make an evacuation
plan, and should practice this.
The senior should have three contact people who can
be contacted in the case of an emergency. She needs
to discuss this with them, and their main telephone
numbers should be clearly visible in her home.
Emergency Preparedness Checklist for Seniors
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Checklist for the Senior Years
A Community Checklist for Emergency Preparedness
Disaster Emergency Kit List
Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Emergency Survival Preparedness Checklist
Home Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Ideas for an Emergency Preparedness Presentation for Seniors
Making an Emergency Preparedness Checklist
Making Emergency Preparedness Kit
Older Consumers Home Safety Checklist
Senior Home Safety Checklist
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We have new practical guidelines for programme
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Please use the guidelines for your own work,
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The guidelines cover topics including
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Rights and advocacy
Health and care
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When a major disaster occurs, your community and
your family's lives can change in an instant.
When natural disasters, such as floods, fires,
earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and
nuclear power plant explosions strike, they affect
thousands of people every year.
Equally as dangerous and unexpected are man-made
threats: bombs, terrorist attacks and chemical
Here are some precautions to take to prepare your
family, including elderly loved ones, for a disaster.
1. Learn about Potential Threats
Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur in your
area. These events canÂ rangeÂ from those affecting
only your family, like a home fire or medical emergency,
to those affecting your entire community, such as an
earthquake or hurricane, depending on your geographical
2. Locate Community Resources
Identify how local authorities will notify you during
a disaster, whether through local radio, TV or NOAA
Weather Radio stations. Learn about community response
plans, evacuation plans, and designated emergency
shelters. Familiarize yourself with NOAA weather alerts
such as watches and warnings and what actions to take
3. Plan Escape Routes
Identify two ways to escape from every room. Practice your
escape plan at least twice a year. Identify responsibilities
for each member of your household and plan to work together
as a team. Select a safe location away from the home where
your family can meet after escaping.
Purchase escape ladders for rooms above ground level. If you
see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second
4. Establish a Communication Plan
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so
plan how you will contact one another. Think about how you
will communicate in different situations.
5. Make an Emergency Kit
You may need to survive on your own after a disaster.
Assemble a disaster recovery kit and make sure everyone
in the home knows where it is.
Include in your kit:
Three-day supply of non-perishable food
Three-day supply of water - one gallon of
water per person, per day
Portable, battery-powered radio or television
and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit and manual
Sanitation and hygiene items (moist towelettes
and toilet paper)
Matches in a waterproof container
Basic kitchen accessories and cooking utensils
Manual can opener
Multi-purpose tool, such as a Swiss army knife
Photocopies of credit and identification cards
Cash and coins
Special needs items, such as prescription medications,
eye glasses, contact lens solutions, and hearing aid
Cell phone with charger
Extra set of car and house keys
To purchase a Red Cross emergency preparedness kit,
visit the Red Cross online store.
6. Maintain Your Disaster Supply Kit
Just as important as putting your supplies together
is maintaining them so they are safe to use when
Here are some tips to keep your
supplies in good condition:
Keep canned foods in a dry place where the temperature
Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal
containers to protect from pests and to extend its
Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented,
Write the date on all containers you store. Use foods
before they go bad, and replace them with fresh supplies.
Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as
your family needs change
Keep items in airtight plastic bags and put your
entire disaster supplies kit in one or two
7. Make Emergency Contact Cards
Complete anÂ emergencyÂ contact and health card for
each family member and keep the cards handy in a wallet,
purse, backpack, etc. Include information about medications,
adaptive equipment, blood type, allergies, immunizations,
and communication difficulties, as well as emergency contact
8. Learn CPR
Make sure that at least one member of your household is
trained in first aid and CPR and knows how to use an
automated external defibrillator (AED).
9. Check Fire Extinguishers
Keep fire extinguishers in many rooms and mark your
calendar with their expiration dates so you can
recharge or replace them as needed.
10. Make Copies of Important Papers
Duplicate important documents -- such as passport,
drivers license, social security card, wills, deeds,
financial statements, insurance information, marriage
license and prescriptions -- and keep copies off-site,
either in a safety deposit box or with someone you
11. Consider an Elder's Special Needs
Elders and people with disabilities must take
Personal Care Assistance: If your parent receives
assistance from a home healthcare agency, find out
how they respond to an emergency. Designate backup
or alternative providers that you can contact in
Wheelchairs: If your parent is in a wheelchair or
has mobility problems, plan for how he or she will
evacuate and discuss it with your care providers.
If you use a motorized wheelchair, have a manual
wheelchair as a backup.
Blind or visually Impaired: Keep an extra cane by
the bed and attach a whistle to it. Remind your
parent to exercise caution when moving, as paths
may have become obstructed.
Hearing Impaired: Keep extra batteries for hearing
aids with emergency supplies. Store hearing aids
in a container attached to the senior's nightstand
or bedpost, so they can be located quickly after a
12. Plan for Pets
Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels,
veterinarians and animal shelters that are along
your evacuation routes.
12 Tips to Prepare the Elderly for Disasters
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Are You Ready?
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Office on Disability
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