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Hurricane Season and Seniors

Sep 5, 2017 by Katherine Davis

Hurricane season on the East Coast typically begins on June 1st and ends on November 30th. Everyone should be prepared in case of a natural disaster, but seniors and those with special needs are advised to take extra precautions.

The National Hurricane Center suggests a series of plans for disaster prevention: a family plan, disaster supply kit, a pet plan, securing your home, and an evacuation plan.

The NHC website has some fantastic disaster plan checklists and other guides to help you to develop your disaster plans. Seniors and those with special medical needs (or their caregivers) are particularly vulnerable in the event of a major natural disaster and are encouraged to take extra precautions to ensure safety. Medications, oxygen, written medical history, hearing aid batteries, wheelchairs and special diet needs should be considered. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests setting aside 3 to 7 days worth of medications, prescription drugs, non-perishable foods and other priority items for your disaster kit. You should also make a list of important phone numbers and addresses to keep in a watertight container in your emergency kit.

Seniors and those with special needs should also think about creating a support network of individuals who could provide support in the event of a natural disaster.  Make sure those in your support network know where you keep your supplies and emergency or disaster kit. Many local governments keep a list of residing citizens with disabilities so that they can be helped quickly in case of an emergency.  You can be added to that list simply by contacting your local government's emergency management office (Orange County Registry, Durham County Registry).

 

If you use a power wheelchair, consider having a lightweight manual wheelchair as a backup in case of emergency. If your electric wheelchair depends on household electrical systems to charge, a spare, charged battery should be added to your disaster/emergency kit.

Locally, there are several programs available to those who are in need of disaster relief assistance. Please visit the NHC website ( www.nhc.noaa.gov ) or the FEMA website ( www.fema.gov ) for more information about hurricane preparedness for special populations. 

If you would like to apply for disaster assistance for yourself of your loved one, please call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

For more information on Comfort Keepers of Durham and Chapel Hill's in-home assistance services for the elderly and disabled, please visit:                                                 http://durham-832.comfortkeepers.com

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