Are you ready for an emergency?

Posted on October 5, 2011

Submitted by Gabriela F. Brown, Constant Companions Home Care.

Emergency preparedness is an absolute necessity for everyone, however the elderly and infirm can encounter greater challenges due to lack of mobility and strength.

First and foremost, to be properly prepared you must make a plan, write out your plan and go over the plan with all of those involved.

2 ways to get out each room of the house
Your ICE “In Case of Emergency” contacts – In the area and out of the area including family AND neighbors that can assist you or look in on you. Make sure your ICE contacts understand what is being asked of them.

We suggest that our clients prepare double the following list in order to provide supplies for the caregiver that is working with them. Caregivers should carry emergency information with them as it pertains to their own families in the event that they become incapacitated. Also, for caregivers, cell phones are wonderful but they do run out of battery power. Keep your phone charged at all times and know how to text. Texting can get through better during emergencies and they use less power.

Prepare your emergency kit. You can use a small suitcase or backpack. Keep your emergency kit in an accessible location in the home or garage and post a note on the refrigerator as to its whereabouts in the event that both client and caregiver are incapacitated.

Water: one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
 Non-perishable food: at least a three-day supply
 Flashlight and extra batteries
 First Aid kit
 Whistle to signal for help
 Filter mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
 Moist towelettes (baby wipes), garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
 Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
 Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
 Manual can opener if kit contains canned food
 Plastic sheeting and duct tape, to shelter -in-place
 Important family documents-you may consider making copies of these to give to ICE family members.
 Items for unique family needs, such as daily prescription medication or pet food
Include Medications and Medical Supplies:
Especially for oxygen users: assure that they have a 3 day supply of oxygen available at all times. Assure that you have at least 1 week supply of all medications.

If you would like to purchase an emergency kit, we located a 3-day pack for one person at  This kit is not complete for the older person, so make sure that you add in all of the items listed below that are necessary.

Other items that should be included IN the emergency kit :
 Family contact numbers both in and out of the area.
 A listing of conditions and current medications with a copy of all prescriptions, including eyeglasses
A copy of your:
Medicare/Health Insurance Card
Driver’s License
Home Owner’s Policy
Will and Trust Information
 Contact information of your doctor
*Consider making copies of all of these documents and sending them to the ICE contacts that you have identified in your plan.

Other things to consider and have in place:
 If you have pets, make advanced arrangement of what you will do with them as many shelters do not allow pets.
 If you use hear aids or glasses, secure them in a drawer or box beside your bed so that they are not damaged by falling off or having something fall on them during an earthquake.
 Know where the water, electric and gas are connected and know how to turn them off. Use a flashlight to find them after a disaster. DO NOT use a candle or any other type of open flame in the event of a gas leak.
 If POWER is lost, unplug everything, turn off light switches to avoid electrical surges. Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer. Try to avoid using a generator, however, if you must then place it outside and let it cool down before refilling it. Never connect a generator to your home’s electrical system unless you are doing so through an approved transfer switch installed in compliance with
the local electrical code.
 If you need assistance in evacuating your home due to mobility issues or if you are bedridden, register that need with local government ahead of time.
 If you are able to evacuate on your own or with some assistance with a caregiver, remember to dress adequately, wear sturdy shoes, grab your emergency kit, lock your doors and follow the route that you have been told to take.
If you are told to stay at home, listen to the radio or watch television for updates, information and instructions.

In the event of an emergency it is normal to experience anxiety and a little panic, but with good planning, you can remain calm, knowing that you have everything in place that is necessary for emergency personnel to help get you to safety.

For more information go to

Submitted by Gabriela F. Brown, Constant Companions Home Care.

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