Most Georgians think that flashlights, duct tape, batteries, and canned goods will get them through an emergency, but these items alone are not enough especially for older adults and people with disabilities who may require additional supplies.
Seventy-eight percent of Georgians believe they are adequately prepared to get through 72 hours following an emergency, but studies show that most people have not taken the necessary steps to fully prepare themselves for a large-scale disaster.
There are three basics everyone needs to be prepared for emergencies; a plan, a disaster kit and regular information update about the dangers in your community. Older adults and those with disabilities may need to take additional measures in order to be prepared. They should also:
• Create a support network to help in an emergency
• Develop and communicate your emergency plan with your support network
• Give one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment to use in an emergency
• Contact your city or county government’s emergency management agency to determine if they have a list of people with disabilities that you could sign up for to discuss their plans for evacuating those with disabilities
• If you are dependent on dialysis or other life sustaining treatments, know the location and availability of more than one facility
• Show others how to operate any special equipment you may have
Additional supplies that they may need:
• Prescription medicines, list of medications including dosage, list of any allergies
• Extra eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
• Extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen
• Medical insurance and Medicare cards
• List of doctors, relatives, or friends who should be notified if you are hurt
If all Georgians would take these basic steps to prepare themselves for a disaster, it would go a long way toward surviving a disaster, should it happen in your community.
A user friendly state Web site which helps individuals prepare for emergencies is www.ready.ga.gov.
For more information on resources in your community to assist older adults and people with disabilities, please visit DHS’ Division of Aging Services at www.aging.dhr.georgia.gov.
James Bulot is director of the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services