Disaster preparedness makes sense for seniors | Coming of Age…Again

Everyone should have a plan in place in case disaster strikes.

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019 8:30am
  • Opinion

By Karissa Smith

Kirkland emergency preparedness cordinator

Getting prepared for emergencies can seem like a daunting task for anybody. But there are simple steps that anybody can take to get prepared for emergencies.

Seniors may need to make special considerations when preparing for emergencies, as every individual has specific needs and concerns that should be addressed before, during, and after disasters.

Build a kit

During a big disaster, normal access to resources like food, water, medical assistance, or power might be cut off or in very limited supply for an extended period of time. Residents should create an emergency kit to help address these concerns, with enough resources to last for at least two weeks. When building an emergency kit, ask yourself, “What does my household rely on every day? If we can’t get to those supplies like we normally do, how can we adapt?” This will help tailor your kit to your specific needs.

Older adults may need to make special considerations for their medical needs. You may need to store spare eyeglasses, hearing aid batteries, or mobility assistive devices. Consider writing down any prescription medications that you or a loved one takes and their uses in case you need to refill during an emergency. There may be other medical considerations to account for when building a kit, so talk with your health care provider for more options and advice tailored to your needs.

Make a plan

During a disaster, everyone is going to need help and, in turn, everyone will need to help the people around them. Making an emergency plan with loved ones, caretakers and neighbors before a disaster happens will help you better know what to do during a real event. Determine if there is any special assistance you might need during a disaster, and be sure to include it in your emergency plan. During a disaster, try to check in with your neighbors to see if you can help each other.

Create a support network of trusted individuals who can help you during an emergency, and keep a written copy of their contact information in your emergency kit. Work with the people in your network when making your emergency plan so everyone knows what to do.

Know the evacuation plans for your household. Assisted or senior living facilities may have specific evacuation plans or procedures, so make sure you are familiar with local plans and participate in any drills. If you make your own emergency evacuation plan, establish a household meeting place far away from your building and know at least two ways out of every room.

Everyone in our community will need to work together before, during, and after disasters. Building a kit and making a plan with your loved ones will help you be more prepared for emergencies.

Learn more at kirklandwa.gov/seniorprep or call the Kirkland Office of Emergency Management at 425-587-3691.

Coming of Age…Again is edited by the Kirkland Senior Council, a group the city of Kirkland created in 2001 to advocate for older adults in our community. The council is made up of people living or working in Kirkland who want to improve and maintain the quality of life for people in Kirkland as they grow older. Membership is open throughout the year.

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