The tragic deaths of 12 nursing home residents who lost power following Hurricane Irma last year highlights the extra attention that is needed to help the elderly and other vulnerable people during a hurricane. Their deaths have been ruled homicides. The State of Florida recently passed a law that requires nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have back up power sources, such as a generator, that can maintain a temperature of 81 degrees or less for at least four days. The law went into effect June 1st.
Here are 13 tips to help ensure the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people are protected in the event of a hurricane.
If the power goes out after a storm or other disaster, family members should ensure that their elders receive proper cooling. If there’s any doubt, they should call 911.
The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before it is on the way. Individuals, organizations and community groups need to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Disasters are notable for their unpredictability and scale. A hurricane or other major disaster can leave devastation in it’s wake. AARP offers an emergency preparation guide “Operation Emergency Prepare” at createthegood.org/toolkit/operation-emergency-prepare.
Always keep a month’s supply of prescription medication on hand. Make sure you are prepared to properly store any that may require refrigeration.
Always maintain a current list of important information on all family members, but especially the elderly and disabled. Here is a list of the type of documentation you should keep handy:
Check on the elderly and disabled before and after the storm
Talk to medical providers if your family member receives home health care, dialysis or chemotherapy, or anyone that requires electricity for medical reasons.
For the mobility-impaired, have an escape chair and plan ahead of time.
If your family member requires oxygen, check with the supplier about emergency plans.
If your family member’s physician has determined that your loved one needs to be cared for in a skilled nursing facility, make arrangements ahead of time with a specific facility.
If you lose power, take the lack of cooling seriously. Many elderly or vulnerable people have a reduced tolerance for high heat. This can also be a result of certain medications. Consider evacuating, as long as the streets are safe. Oftentimes it makes more sense for you to transport your family member rather than wait for power restoration.
The American Red Cross has set up a website where loved ones can connect following a major disaster. This is a voluntary-use site that is used to document your name, address, phone number and the messages you leave.
Here are sites where you can get more in-depth information on caring for the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people in the event of a hurricane or other major disaster.
Lanier Upshaw provides important information on emergency preparedness to help you protect yourself, your loved ones and your property. If you would like more information on how Lanier Upshaw can help you be prepared for a hurricane or other disaster, contact us here.