Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning

Feb 5th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

In an emergency are you prepared with a response plan?

Emergencies, like accidents, are unpredictable. They slip up on us when we have little awareness of their sneaky ways. Emergencies are the kind of thing that preparation seems almost an oxymoron. However, for seniors it is all the more critical to make ready for the possibility of something going wrong. This isn’t negative thinking, it is preparatory planning.

Let’s test that idea. When traveling by car, do you make preparations making sure your automobile is up for the trip? Do you have the tire pressure checked, make sure the fluids are all at appropriate levels, look at the tire wear to determine necessary replacement, check the trunk for an emergency kit, determine if the spare is usable, take the vehicle to the garage to check out all warning lights, if any are indicating a problem. Do you have a cell phone? Have you considered getting one?

Have you left information with someone about your trip plans and the routes you will be taking? Have you let someone know when your estimated times of arrival will be? What about your return date?

In your home, have you made preparations for its security and safety in your absence? Have you checked all the locks throughout the house; do you have an alarm system; is someone ready to receive emergency calls in your absence; do you have light timers set throughout the house; has someone been designated to keep papers picked up, mail box emptied; have you closed draperies or other window coverings; will someone take care of your lawn or sidewalks and driveways in your absence? Leaving home is more than just loading the car and locking the front door behind you. Have you left numbers so that you can be reached if necessary?

On the trip, do you have numbers on your person of significant persons to be notified in the event of an unexpected emergency? Are there medical instructions, easily located, if needed? Will your partner know what to do if an emergency occurs? Will you?

Have you packed sufficient medications for your use while away? Do you have refill prescriptions, if needed?

Of course, you are most likely more often at home than on the road. Home is, after all, where most accidents occur. Preparing your home and yourself to head off the possibility of a fall, a quick need for EMT services, a plan in the event of smoke or fire
occurrence, an unexpected kitchen surprise, a water break, a bathtub accident, a trip over an intrusive rug, an electric shock, a sudden burn, your list may carry even more possibilities.

Developing a plan for response is essential. If you are alone, what are your options? If you are living with a partner, how do you get their attention? If you live in a large house with a large exterior to care for, what would be your means for getting attention, if you needed it? We haven’t even covered outdoor yard maintenance and all the accidents that lurk in garages, in the use of machinery, etc.

The point is developing a plan. Your situation will have its own peculiar issues to address. The important thing is having a plan and having persons who know you and watch out for you, know your address, phone number, other critical and helpful information in an emergency!



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