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Are You Prepared for Severe Weather?

We can prepare for weather, but we can’t control it. Ice, wind, rain, lightning and other weather events can cause structural damage to homes, as well as prolonged power outages. A power outage can quickly become dangerous, especially for seniors relying on assistive medical devices.  Ventilators, respirators, oxygen, suction, dialysis machines or rechargeable scooters and wheelchairs all require electricity to operate and help seniors maintain their health status.

 

Risk Factors of Power Outages

  • Lights cannot be turned on, leaving seniors stumbling through the home, increasing the risk of tripping and falling.
  • Electric heaters, air conditioners and fans will no longer work increasing the risk for heat stroke or hypothermia.
  • Home phones may not work and cell phones cannot be recharged, preventing seniors from calling for help in case of an emergency.
  • Televisions and radios won’t turn on, preventing seniors from getting weather updates.
  • Refrigerators and freezers do not have power and can cause food to spoil if the outage is prolonged.
  • Ovens, microwaves, electric can openers and stove tops will not work, preventing seniors from eating.
  • Garage doors operated by electricity will not open, preventing seniors from using their vehicles to relocate to loved ones’ homes or emergency shelters.
  • Personal alert systems will not work if electrically powered, preventing seniors from getting help.
  • Assistive medical devices cannot be powered or recharged, increasing seniors’ risks of health complications.

 

Emergency Kits

  • Keep an emergency kit in an easily accessible area in case severe weather hits your area. Be sure to check the emergency kit every six months and replace materials that have expired. Emergency kits should have enough supplies for at least 3 days, and include the following:

    • Flashlights
    • Batteries
    • Weather radio or battery powered radio
    • Non-perishable foods
    • Water
    • Manual can opener
    • Blankets
    • First-aid kit
    • Medications
    • A cell phone that is always charged
    • Paper towels, sanitizing wipes or napkins
    • Personal hygiene products
    • Gloves
    • Copy of insurance cards and other important personal documents
    • Phone numbers and contact information of friends, family members, pharmacist and doctors
    • Whistle
    • Tools
    • Extra money

      

Other Considerations for Emergencies:

  • Have a plan to get in contact with emergency shelters and keep a list of organizations and churches that usually open in cases of emergency.
  • Learn how to open electrically powered garage doors in the case of power outages so that cars can be accessed.
  • Have a plan for someone to check on seniors and loved ones.
  • Educate yourself and loved ones about assistive medical devices and battery backups. Alert power companies and local emergency personnel that a senior using assistive medical devices is without power, and their location will be put on a priority list.
  • Keep a list of senior’s medications and the name, model # and instructions for the assistive medical devices.
  • Do not open refrigerators or freezers. If it’s necessary, try to close doors as quickly as possible.
  • Coolers can be used to prevent food from spoiling if the power outages last longer than the refrigerator or freezer can keep the food cold.
  • Know when to call for help. No one wants to leave their home and belongings, but if power is out for an extended period, it’s best to temporarily relocate to a loved one’s home or shelter.
  • Do you have pets? If so, be sure to have food and water for them also.
  • Generators can be used to temporarily supply power to a home. Be sure for follow safety instructions.
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