Preparing Your Parent to Shelter in Place During an Emergency
March 10, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
As a family caregiver, you want to make sure that your parents’ needs will be met while also addressing the additional challenges and issues that can come with emergency situations. One decision that you will have to make when there is an impending disaster or emergency is whether your parents should evacuate or if they should remain in place to get through the storm. Sheltering in place requires special preparation to ensure that they stay safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout the experience.
6 Tips for Sheltering in Place During an Emergency for Seniors
Use these tips to help prepare your parent to shelter in place during an emergency:
1. Confirm evacuation is not mandatory
Check with the local authorities to ensure that there are no mandatory evacuation orders in place. If there are such orders, your parent must leave their home and move to a safe location. This can be a community shelter or the home of a member of their home care team who does not live in the area affected by the mandatory evacuation.
2. Get everyone inside
Before the emergency situation strikes, be sure that your parent brings in any pets that may be outside. These animals will also need proper protection from the storm.
3. Secure the home
Go throughout the home and make sure that all doors and windows are closed and locked. There is a common misconception that if there is a major storm coming you should open windows to allow the pressure to equalize within the home. This, however, is not true. In fact, having windows open during a storm can put your parent at greater risk of damage or injury caused by flying debris, as well as water damage. Be sure that you also close the fireplace dampers and air vents.
4. Have an emergency kit easily accessible
Having an emergency kit is the most basic of preparedness steps. Make sure that this kit has essential supplies such as non-perishable food, potable water, medication, a first aid kit, flashlights and extra batteries, and toiletry and hygiene items. Make sure that this kit is stored in a watertight, secure container and kept in a place that is easily and readily accessible so that your parent can get to it as soon as the emergency begins.
5. Make sure they are visible
Even if there are no mandatory evacuation notices in place, the weather can become extremely serious very quickly. Equip your parent with items that will raise their visibility in case of such an emergency. Brightly colored fabric can be hung out of upper floor windows to draw attention, and notices posted on the door or window can provide valuable information about your parent in case emergency responders must come to assist them.
6. Choose a safe location
Your parent should move to a central room in the home that has no windows or outside doors if possible. This is the area of the home that is most secure in the event of high winds or flying debris.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services in Florida
If you are concerned about your parent’s ability to prepare for possible emergency situations, now may be the ideal time for you to consider home care. An in-home senior care services provider can help ensure that your parent understands any impending emergency situations and guide them through the proper preparations so that they can get through the situation in the best way possible.