DHS Encourages Aging and Disabled to be Prepared for Hurricanes and Severe Weather

August 15, 2011

By James Bulot, Director of the Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services

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 towards surviving a disaster, should it happen in your community.

A user friendly state website 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.

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