“The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today.”
The most common natural disasters we have potential to experience here in Whatcom County are extended power outages, earthquakes, loss of access due to flooding and the ever-looming possibility of Mount Baker erupting.
Older adults and those with mobility issues are especially vulnerable during these types of emergencies because it’s harder for them to mobilize, and they often have special healthcare needs. A bit of emergency planning for seniors can help protect them if there should be a natural disaster.
Whatcom Unified Emergency Management (WUEM) is a partnership between the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the City of Bellingham’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), and several local jurisdictions, organizations and agencies.
They promote the importance of community members, caregivers and family members helping older adults prepare for disasters. Generally, the same preparedness messages apply to individuals with special needs, but may require some additional items.
Many seniors have specific medical needs that must be considered. Make sure there is a detailed list of all medications and if possible, a generous supply to last in case of emergency – plus having a plan for refilling prescriptions as needed may be beneficial.
According to Ready.gov, seniors should keep specialized items ready, including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for service animals and any other items you might need. Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require. Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration. Make arrangements for any assistance to get to a shelter.
If someone close to you has a disability or a special medical or mobility need, planning and preparing now will help protect them in an emergency.