Older adults can be disproportionately affected by disasters and emergencies. Seniors and caregivers must have an understanding of the potential risks and prepare to curb those risks by having an emergency plan in place. Mobility, chronic conditions, side effects from medications and lack of preparation can be just some of the factors that should be considered when preparing for an emergency plan for seniors. Never use cookie-cutter plans as every individual's personal needs will vary.
Working with friends, loved ones or caregivers can make planning easier
Identify the Hazards:
Begin your plan by asking yourself what potential hazards you could face specifically on the west coast of British Columbia.
Here are just four examples of emergency
Earthquake: The entire west coast of B.C is in an active earthquake region that could be impacted by an earthquake at any time. Learn how to prepare for an earthquake by visiting the government of B.C website.
Tsunami: waves can grow large in height as they near our shores. These environmental powerhouses can cause destruction of property, flooding and affect people's ability to get around. To learn more about Tsunamis, check out this video.
Wind Storms: can happen at any time; however, they are more prevalent between the months of October - March. High winds can cause extensive property damage from fallen trees and power lines, causing power outages & road closures.
Wildfires: Forest fires hundreds of miles away can have a detrimental effect on seniors breathing, mobility and overall health. This stands especially true for older adults with heart and lung conditions.
After identifying potential hazards specific to you, it is time to get prepared. When it comes to seniors in British Columbia, you may need to consider going above and beyond the basics.
Consider having the following in your emergency kit:
Extra supply of any prescriptions (always consult with your healthcare provider when it comes to medications)
Extra glasses, hearing aids & hearing aid batteries, blood sugar monitors and batteries for blood sugar monitors.
Breathing and respiratory aids.
Record of medical conditions & allergies stored in a waterproof container.
Sanitation and hygiene products.
Minimum of three day supply of non perishable food.
Manual can opener
4 litres of fresh drinking water per day. (plan for minimum of 72 hours)
Matches and candles
Flashlight with extra batteries
Coins and cash
Portable battery chargers for cell phones
Have a list containing a support network of no less than three people and their contact information. In addition, keep a complete list of your healthcare providers including caregivers, nurses, doctors or any part of your support team.
Copy of important documents in a water proof bag or container.
First Aid kit
If you have a pet, you will need enough supplies to support your pet for at least 72 hours. Including food, water & medications.
Battery or hand cranked radio.
Have and practice an evacuation plan
If you are using a walker, cane, wheelchair or any other mobility device, have a mobility plan in place. Have a conversation with your caregiver or a medical professional to explore your options.
Ensure you have smoke detectors with the ability to detect carbon monoxide and can serve as a night light. Change your batteries at least once per calendar year.
Check: the condition of any packaging, expiry dates, double check batteries & add/remove items as needed.
Identifying the hazards and having your emergency kits ready doesn't serve you well if it is not ready when you need it. Keep everything in a space where it is readily available and inspect your kit no less than 2 times per year.
Keeping informed is one of the most essential components of any emergency plan. From preparing your emergency kit to putting your emergency plan in action, knowledge is king. Check out our list of links to help you better be prepared in case of an emergency.
Pacific Coast Health Services has qualified nurses and caregivers that can help with your emergency preparedness plan. From personal supports to nursing call Pacific Coast Health Services for your free in home assessment at (250) 389-0202 24/7/365.
This post was a collaborative effort with our friends at Lions Gate Home Care