Preparing Seniors for Earthquakes

For seniors, it is more important than ever to be prepared for earthquakes. Disasters can strike suddenly, at anytime and anywhere. Whether you live alone or depend on a caregiver, it is vital to have a plan for what to do before, during, and after an earthquake. Remember, preparing today can make a big difference tomorrow. 
Plan for Your Needs:

Protect yourself by planning ahead for earthquakes. Discuss emergency plans with family, friends and neighbors. It is also important to let them know about your risks and vulnerabilities. In addition to the standard items that should be in your emergency kit, you should consider storing your supplies in a container or bag that has wheels. You should also label any equipment -- such as wheelchairs, canes or walkers -- that you would need with your name, address, and phone numbers.

When creating your emergency plans, know the answers to the following questions and plan accordingly.

  • Do you live alone?
  • Do you drive or own a car?
  • How good is your sense of smell?
  • Do you have any physical, medical, thinking or learning limitations?
  • Has your sense of hearing or vision decreased?
  • Are you reliant upon any medical equipment?
  • Are you reliant upon a caregiver?

You should also be informed about your community's disaster plans. Ask local officials about your area's response and evacuation plans in the event of an emergency. If you do not own a vehicle or drive, find out what their plans are for those evacuating without private transportation. It is also a good idea to evacuate with a neighbor or someone living in close proximity of your home. If you receive home care, speak with your case manager to see what his or her plan is in times of emergency and how he or she can assist with you.

It's also a good idea to connect with a group in your neighborhood, such as a neighborhood watch, community block association, or faith-based organization. Even if you feel you cannot become a member, let them know your needs and ask them how they could assist with your disaster plan. If available, take advantage of advance registration systems in your area for those who need help during community emergencies.

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