Just in case: Emergency Preparedness

posted Dec 12, 2016, 8:01 AM by Mary Peck

The extreme weather occurrences happening are a critical reminder of how quickly an unexpected emergency can disrupt normal living. Planning for an emergency that may never happen may not seem as a priority but it should be.

No matter where we live, we are part of a larger community such as long-term care facilities. That larger community is already preparing an emergency plan for the residents residing within. That is the good news. But, facilities may also count on friends and families to be prepared at a personal level.

Hopefully, that personal emergency planning will never be put to a test but emergencies can come in many levels of intensity. Residents may need that flashlight, charged power chair and extra batteries at the most inopportune time.

Facilities already have an emergency readiness checklist available for visitors to read and learn. Here are some preparedness steps to take whether at home or at a facility.

 Know the Basics. Know the risks of your community. In the event of an ordered evacuation what are the steps required by the facility? In the case of downed local phone service, what is an emergency contact number for the facility? Are the special needs for the family member identified?

Have the Emergency Supplies Ready. Items such as flashlights, spare batteries, non-perishable food items, light sticks and emergency contact list are important considerations for all seniors whether living at home or facility.

Know the Disaster Preparedness Plan for Facility. Emergency supplies are pulled together and on hand, just in case. Know the steps of the facility disaster plan. Identify the need, if any, for volunteers. Offer your contact information to facility administration for future reference.

We cannot prevent emergencies that disrupt normal living, but preparedness is a priority. For further questions regarding disaster preparedness, contact the State Ombudsman Office or the local Ombudsman Supervisor of your area.  The SWODA Ombudsman Program serves nursing homes in Beckham, Custer, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa, Roger Mills and Washita Counties. For more information about the Ombudsman Program or to become a volunteer in your area, contact Gail Wilcox at (580) 562-4882.