Hurricane Preparedness Presents Unique Challenges for Seniors
Tropical storms and hurricanes are unique amongst natural disasters in that there is generally days or even week’s notice that a storm is coming. No other natural disaster actually has a “season” with a start and end date to plan by. This week the hurricane season starts on June 1st and runs through November 30th. While tropical storms and hurricanes do occur outside of these dates, the majority of storms do occur within this window with the peak of the season being in September.
Fortunately, storms do not happen in Central Florida every year. This sometimes will lull people into a sense of complacency, which leads to a lack of preparedness. Let’s not let that happen and go over some simple things you can do to be prepared for a storm.
Things to do Now
Hurricane season is now upon us there are things you can do to begin preparation. Think of completing these tasks while you have the time and resources.
- Gather important documents into a central location where they can be reached in case you must evacuate.
- Use a camera to take pictures of your important belongings and each room of your home. This will help if there is an insurance claim.
- Gather spare clothes and bedding in case you must evacuate to a shelter. Place them where you can quickly and easily get to them.
- Think through your plans now for evacuation or shelter-in-place. For instance, do you start off planning to stay at home but if the storm strengthens to a Category 1 Hurricane do you evacuate to a relative’s home or shelter? Try to think this scenario through and have a plan of action ready to go.
- Have enough food and water (5 gallons) to last 5 days, which is the length of time most storms will effect a given area. More than 5 days worth of food and water is great to have but have a minimum of 5 days on hand.
Things to do 3 Days Out
- Spot check your previous steps to make sure your documents and evacuation supplies are easily found,
- Contact your pharmacy to obtain any refills you will need over the next couple of weeks. Even if you are not due for a refill your pharmacy will work with you to make sure you have your medicines to last beyond the storm.
- If the storm is of the size to warrant evacuation to a relative’s home, this is a good time to put those plans into action.
- If you are going to shelter-in-place you should confirm that you have 5 days worth of food and water. Snacks are a good thing to have as well as stress eating is almost assured during the storm.
- If you have a vehicle, fill the tank with gas.
- Check batteries in flashlights and radios. Have spares for each device.
- Communicate your status to relatives and neighbors so people will know where you are.
Things to do 2 Days Out
- Monitor the storm’s activity via local news outlets. This will help you alter your plans if needed.
- Stay home. Do not venture out beyond your neighborhood as last minute shoppers will create chaos and danger on the roads.
- However, if you are evacuating this is the time to do so before the shelters are full. Be sure to take a change of clothes, bedding, entertainment and reading material.
- Communicate with your family and neighbors to let them know your plans and your status.
Things to do 1 Day Out
- Continue to monitor the storm’s activity via your local news. Don’t obsess but be aware of any changes to direction or intensity. Changes may dictate a change in your plans
- Stay home unless you are evacuating to a local shelter. If you are evacuating this is your last chance to do so before the storm.
- Continue to communicate with your family and neighbors to let them know your status and location.
Things to do the Day of the Storm
- Stay home. The tendency will be to venture out. Don’t.
- If you have chosen to shelter-in-place enjoy the storm via your television or radio. Flying debris and rain are the danger now. If you are sheltering-in-place DO SO. Enjoy your snacks and ride out the storm.
- If you have chosen to evacuate to a community shelter take the opportunity to read to children and help give them comfort. Serve others as this will take your mind and theirs off of the storm outside.
After the Storm
- Assess your status and the status of your home. If all is good then check on your neighbors. Giving service, comfort and aid to someone else will help keep your mind off of your own troubles.
- Communicate with family and neighbors to let them know your status.
For more details on creating your own personal plan see these articles: