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Drew: Older Adults and Disaster Recovery Kits

By Samuetta Hill Drew

Last week’s safety article began the discussion about how to help prepare for disaster recovery from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, straight-line winds and such for older adults. Where everyone should have a disaster emergency plan and kit, the information last week pointed out those other considerations which may be applicable to older adults.
This week’s safety article will conclude by highlighting other additional items important to consider relative to disaster recovery plans and kits for older adults. Hopefully both articles combined should provide you and/or your family members with essential information to assist those older adults in your family with their disaster recovery plans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people now include supplies to address the spread of the coronavirus, flu and other viruses in their disaster recovery kits, regardless of age. These supply items are masks for everyone age 2 and older, soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
A disaster recovery plan on how to leave your home dwelling and where to go should be in your disaster recovery plan in case of an evacuation. If the older adult lives in a retirement or assisted living community, learn what procedures are in place in case of emergencies. Keep a copy of the exit route and meeting places in an easy-to-reach location. Create a plan and keep a copy in your Disaster Recovery Supply Kit.
If the older adult has medical, transportation, or other access needs during an emergency, consider signing up for SMART911, Code Red, or your local county registry. This is contingent upon which service your area uses to help first responders identify people who may need assistance right away.
Other supply items you may also want to include in your disaster recovery kit are:

• Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
• Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
• Fire extinguisher
• Matches in a waterproof container
• Masks
• Paper towels, plastic cups, utensils, and plates

Keeping an Eye on Safety is critical for all of us during a time of potential disaster. It can be even more life threatening for older adults who often live in older homes, so it is imperative they are prepared.