Living in Northern Virginia, I and millions of others on the East Coast, experienced the 5.9 earthquake, and then four days later, Hurricane Irene. In both events, at least where I am, luck was on our side. While the earthquake shook things good and hard, and Hurricane Irene brought down limbs, trees, and knocked out power in my neighborhood, we know we got off easy. The power was out for only 13 hours and the sound of quiet was a lovely change. For others in neighboring states and further north, they were not so lucky, and many will be spending years recovering from the devastation of Irene.
Since then, I’ve been reviewing my own emergency plan, as well as those of my elderly and disabled clients. As a Geriatric Care Manager, I am responsible for assuring my client’s safety and preparedness for a natural disaster. And this is the time of year, as September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, that is a great time to sit down and review our emergency preparedness plans, make sure we are prepared, and look at previous events and learn any lessons these experiences offer.
There are ample resources provided by national organizations, and available on the internet to help us prepare. The following two websites offer tools to help prepare older adults and their families for a disaster:
From the American Red Cross: Emergency Preparedness for Seniors
From the Centers for Disease Control: Personal Preparedness – Emergency Preparedness for Older Adults
If you have not done any emergency planning, please do so now. If you already have a plan, please take time to review it now.