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Caregiving in the Aftermath of a Storm — Preparation

By Janie Rosman

(Page 2 of 4)

During the recent East Coast hurricane, a huge tree on one friend’s property was uprooted; it sprawled across his lawn and the street, pulling down a power line and leaving him and his family without electricity. Level-headed and calm, he immediately called the insurance company to assess the damage to his roof, and the village to remove the tree that blocked the street; the local utility company was also contacted about the downed power line. His caregiving responsibility was to keep his family, and the community, safe.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging’s National Caregiver Support Program summarizes emergency readiness in three steps:

1. Know the basics and learn about risks to your community; learn how to turn off gas and electricity, and know your neighbors.

2. Keep emergency supplies that you need to survive until help arrives; these should include a personal evacuation bag that’s partially packed and ready.

3. Make a personal plan regarding special needs and medications, medical equipment, mobility, and support services to increase likelihood that those needs will be met in emergency situations.

There are many types of emergencies that cause various disruptions, and with varying levels of intensity. While a flashlight or portable radio or extra batteries might never be needed, they may very well come in handy during surprise weather. On a personal note, I suggest memorizing the layout of the home — where a table ends, where a wall starts — and rearrange furniture for safe passage through rooms.

The basic safety tips followed during the storm will make its aftermath a great deal easier, especially if you’re able to remain at home. Stay safe and remain at home until given the “all clear” signal to venture outside. Live wires from downed power lines, trees and branches may be on the ground or hanging precariously, so wait until authorities clear the area.

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