Hurricane season in Florida runs from June 1 – November 30. During this time seniors need to watch the weather forecast and be prepared to take steps to keep themselves safe.
Preparing for a Storm in Hurricane Season
Seniors are more vulnerable to the risks that are associated with hurricane season. There are some things you can do to help them stay safe. This starts with knowing if they’re in a “hurricane evacuation zone” and will need to be evacuated.
It’s also important to help seniors put together an emergency kit. This is something that should be done as soon as possible before the stores become crowded and the supplies grow scarce. Some of the items this kit should contain include:
- Non-perishable food with a manual can opener and at least one gallon of water per person per day
- First aid kit and one week of all medications, medical equipment (e.g. canes, wheelchairs, oxygen tanks), and medical supplies all labeled with their contact information
- Personal hygiene items (e.g. toilet paper, wet wipes, hand sanitizer)
- Pet supplies (e.g. water, food, medications, immunization records) and information on where to board their pets if they need to move to a shelter
- Copies of important documents (e.g. COVID-19 vaccine records, deeds, birth certificates, insurance policies, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, passports) placed inside a waterproof safe or safety deposit box
- Non-electronic sources of entertainment (e.g. books, cards, puzzles)
- Several days’ worth of clothes along with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and an umbrella
- Flashlights (with extra bulbs) and battery-operated radio with extra batteries
- Miscellaneous items including a pocketknife, whistle, and an extra set of keys
Maintaining Communication Throughout a Storm
Once a storm hits it’s too late for seniors to take precautions. Now it’s time for them to take some different steps to remain safe throughout the storm. This includes:
- Knowing where the designated meeting spot is, especially if it’s located outside of their neighborhood. Make sure they have everyone’s phone number and that of someone who lives out of town and can serve as a point of contact.
- Documenting what they need in terms of care. Make sure this has been printed out to provide to shelters just in case they need to stay there at any time during hurricane season.
- Tracking local announcements made by local authorities. Seniors should take advantage of advanced registration systems so additional support is made available to them in the event of an emergency.
- Setting up a respite stay at an assisted living community is a great way to ensure their safety and well-being. These communities have enhanced safety protocols (e.g. backup power generators) in place to keep them safe.
- Making sure their phones, computers, and backup energy sources are fully charged while they still have electricity. This includes turning their refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and keeping their doors closed so their food will last longer if power is lost.
- Having cash on hand (e.g. small bills, coins) since ATMs and credit card machines may not work after the storm has passed.
- Taking photos and videos of their home and possessions before the start of hurricane season is also important in case they need to make an insurance claim. These should be stored online.
During hurricane season it’s important to always remain alert since things can drastically change quickly. Besides tracking the progression of the storm you should also make sure that you’re able to hear what’s going on around you well. For help with this, seniors can turn to Countryside Hearing Aid Services in Clearwater and Pinellas County, FL.
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