Saturday, September 3, 2016

Are you Prepared 2

Why is a plan important? If you are prepared and have a plan, you are ready and can act without having to think about what you need to do in the emergency. Remember, that the likelihood of surviving a disaster or emergency depends greatly on the planning and preparation done today. All households need an emergency plan, because a plan helps you and your family know what to do in case of an emergency

During a fire or other emergency, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Be ready to get out as fast as possible. Be sure that everyone in your household is aware of the best escape routes out of your home or where the safe places within your home are too. In making your plans, draw a floor plan of your home and show escape routes.

Steps to preparing the plan that works for me. My first step is to visualize the emergency situations which are applicable to me and to you.  Then I make sure that I and everyone else knows where the electrical box, gas shutoff and water shutoff are in the house.

In an emergency, if you can shut off power, gas and water, as part of your escape strategy. In addition to making sure the power, water and gas are off, identify emergency exits from each room in your home. If you live in an apartment building, plan how to get out without using the elevators. Identify an escape route from your neighbourhood, just in case you have to leave the area. If people are not home or you get separated agree on where you will meet. The meeting place should be a relatively safe place reasonably near your home but outside of the immediate neighbourhood. Also it is a good idea to know what your community has planned, they may have a specific place to go and register in emergencies

As part of your overall plan, it is recommended that you create a written communication plan which you keep with you in your emergency kit, but can also be passed along to family or friend. This plan should include important phone numbers such as family members, out-of-town contact, emergency services. Your friends and relatives out of the area, will have a need to get in touch to see if you and your family are well, so you should pre-arrange an out-of-town contact. When you do this choose someone readily available so you can describe your location and exchange messages with family and friends.

Keep a record of vital information and carry a copy with you. This vital information should include:
·       Contact details (phone and e-mail information) for the out-of-town “link”, family, friends, doctors, neighbours, insurance agent and policy number, etc.
·       Personal medical and

Once you have the information, organize your personal documents (e.g. passport, power of attorney and will) in one place. It is recommended that you use a fire-proof box (or your freezer) or a safety deposit box.

Ensure that someone other than you (someone you trust) knows where your documents are stored. Establish a personal support network to assist you in preparing for a disaster and to help when it occurs. 

Emergency preparedness officials recommend that seniors have at least 3 people you can trust who are close by, will check on you and provide help within minutes. These people should be familiar with your home (e.g. location of gas and water shut-offs). 

You should review your emergency plan with them along with health information, e.g. medical conditions and history, allergies, surgeries, medications, you may have. These people should also know your capabilities (I.e. functional/physical limitations) and other needs you have.

If you have special equipment, (walkers, canes, medical equipment, etc.) you need, label and provide instructions for equipment use, and if applicable, teach your supporters how to operate medical and mobility equipment. Keep all your medical equipment and supplies in a designated place.

In addition, it may be important to practice giving directions (Clear and concise) should you have to describe them to rescue personnel. Also, keep a list of your medications on the fridge or inside front door. Many emergencies happen at night, here is a simple idea, stash a pair of hard-soled shoes under your bed so you will have proper footwear when you leave.

Store your treasured photographs in one place or scan them onto your computer if you can. Backup your computer files onto a hard drive regularly and keep it somewhere safe, or backup your files online

If you live in an apartment building contact the building management about emergency procedures and evacuation plans  Ask the building manager, especially if you have functional limitations, to clearly identify and mark accessible exists and areas designated for emergency shelter.

If you rely on home support services, you should contact that agency to find out if they have special provisions for emergencies (I.e. if home support worker cannot make it, can services be provided in an alternate location?)

This next part of the plan, is for those of you who have pets. Remember that pets may not be allowed in emergency public shelters so you might want to make alternate arrangements for pets in case of emergency.  For example, find pet-friendly motels (or friends) in advance

In case of evacuation, try your best to take pets with you, if you can, remember they will be frightened and may act differently than normal, so do not endanger yourself trying to save your pet. First responders are better equipped to help your pets, especially if they are frightened.

Add pet food and supplies to your emergency kit, as well take their medications and any special food they may require. If you are able to get your pet, make sure they are secure by using a carrier and/or leash.

If you cannot take your pet, post a sign to let rescue workers know the number, description (or photo) and names of pets left behind, leave plenty of water and dry food in a dispenser and call on your support team for help.

Tomorrow I will focus on preparing an emergency kit

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