Keeping Seniors Safe during Fires or Natural Disasters
The recent California wildfires caused many to lose their homes and in some instances their lives. With a need for quick evacuations and emergency preparedness, a lot of our seniors can get lost in the shuffle. San Diego, Poway, Ramona, Jamul, and many other areas will be under the threat of fire over the next several weeks. Making sure you or a loved one can quickly leave their home in the case of an emergency is paramount to keeping them safe. Here are some tips and considerations:
- If you don’t have a caregiver in the home, make sure that during wildfire season family members check the news and are aware of things happening in the area in which the senior lives. San Diego’s 2-1-1 information line is also a good resource for emergency updates and resources.
- If family is not close by, seniors should have a nearby friend or transport service that they are registered with in case of an emergency. Many home care agencies will do this. A Better Solution, for example, can register clients and supply transport quickly in times of need.
- Find the nearest senior center. Many senior centers serve as meeting places in emergency situations, where seniors can wait until family is able to pick them up.
- If you or your loved one lives in a remote area or has medical equipment that needs electricity, contact SDG&E and they can deliver emergency packs and list you as ‘Urgent Need’ if there is a power outage.
- Have a Medical Alert button/systemand instruct your senior to utilize it if they are needing immediate assistance.
Preparation, which includes practice, is the key to success in dealing with a disaster. Preparation is an ongoing process. Keep in mind the usual means of support and assistance may not be available during an evacuation and after the disaster. Prepare a personal disaster plan with the following in mind:
- Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and professional service providers to aid you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure everyone knows how to operate necessary equipment.
- If you are mobility impaired and live in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
- If you live in an apartment building, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly and to make arrangements to help you leave the building.
- Keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, prescriptions, food for service animals and any other items you might need.
- Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
- Keep a list of the types and model numbers of the medical devices you require.
- Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability.
- Know the location and availability of more than one facility if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
For information regarding getting set up with a caregiving or transportation service anywhere in the San Diego County Area, or for assistance regarding Vial of Life information, contact A Better Solution Home Care & Nursing at (877)585-9011.