Mar 8th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Disaster Preparedness is Vital

The recent spate of tornadoes has aroused many seniors to consider taking measures to protect our property and person. The problem is that fear, emerging from the flattening devastation of entire communities, creates the suspicion that there may be little to be done.  Winds with the extraordinary power to pull babies from a mother’s arms leaves us wondering whether any measure is sufficient to protect us and our loved ones.

Fear can be paralyzing. Which is why preparation is a preliminary requirement.  Thinking through what your best options are, in the face of an impending catastrophe, means you will have a plan the minute, or second, that you know something is afoot.

Review your most likely options.  Do it today.  Do not wait for the next warning, if any.  Always Be Ready.  Particularly if you reside in any part of the US geography that is prone to storms, should you have a Readiness Plan in place that everyone in your household is aware of. Don’t count on screaming out instructions in the last few seconds, the winds will likely take your words and deposit them far away.    So, what can we do?  Here are some points to have in place:

Preparedness Tips

  • Assuming you and your family are home, determine in advance the safest location for all of you to gather.  If the area is too small to accommodate all of the family, choose more than one location.  Be sure it is surrounded by other walls, central to the house, perhaps adjacent to a furnace room or other utility room, which may offer more protection.
  • Do not go to your garage or leave the area in your automobile.  Being in an automobile or other vehicle will likely not offer additional security.
  • If, you are fortunate enough to have a basement or shelter, move to that area.  This, of course, as we have seen, may not offer total safety.  Having addressed the basement, for example, in order to make it more impenetrable may offer additional security.  Storms are so fickle that second guessing almost any location may not offer total safety.  If you have built a shelter, a storm cellar as it were, then go there.  Preparations will have included necessary essentials in either a basement or cellar.
  • Wherever you identify your “safe place,” be sure neighbors or relatives or friends from other neighborhoods will know where to look for you.  Life saving measures are increased when time for searching is reduced.
  • Be sure you take your cell phone with you.  Double check to see that you are able, ordinarily, to get a signal from that location.  This will not mean that you will be able to do so once the storm hits.
  • Counsel your family and others whom you might invite to your place of safety what to expect. Once the storm is raging, the door(s) should not be opened.  Wait until the storm has subsided before exiting.  Simple comforts like pillows, flashlights, a portable weather alert radio, snacks, water and a portapotty (i.e. as in bedside) and other essentials should be in your place of safety.
  • Periodically review your procedures so that everyone stays aware of the measures to be taken.  Don’t assume anything.  If someone is away from home, have a plan for their being in touch as soon as possible when the alarm is raised.
  • If the entrance to your safe place is surrounded by large trees or other outbuildings, have an identifying marker, cast in cement and partially buried in the ground, which identifies the entrance to the safe place.
  • When the storm has subsided, if you have phone service and are trapped in your own home or other location, call 911.  Be patient, others will likely be doing the same thing.
  • Have a plan for your pets, provide for their needs.
  • Make preparations for your legal and other documents in advance.
  • If you have valuables, consider having made arrangements for them to be preserved, e.g. a heavy safe that is bolted to the slab, if you have one, of your home.
  • If there are medications someone in the family is taking, be sure to grab those on your way to your safe place.
  • If someone is using oxygen, a generator will likely be necessary.  Consider how that need will be met.

Remember as the winds blow, the clock is ticking.  Storms usually occur within a very short period of time.  Having a plan means you know what to do when the storm warning is first issued, giving you/your family/your pets enough time to get to your safe place with everything that you need in hand. There is no time for wondering what to do when the alarm is given.  Being prepared is easy to do on a clear day.  Don’t put it off.

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