Emergency preparedness and caregiving

Recent world events should serve as a reminder to caregivers it is vitally important to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster, according to Right at Home's Web site. Those of us who experienced the ice storm of a few years back saw how having a plan in place made an enormous difference.

Caregivers need to ask these questions:

• What type of emergency could happen here?

• What is my community's disaster plan?

• How will we be evacuated from the home?

• Where is the nearest shelter?

• Will our neighbors be able to check on us?

• How do I shut off the power/gas to the home?

After gathering the information needed to answer the above questions, caregivers need to prepare for an emergency event. A support network should be established, combining neighbors, relatives and emergency personnel. Shelter options should also be considered. If necessary, make transportation arrangements with emergency agencies so everyone can safely arrive at emergency shelters.

Caregivers should also be sure to have the following on hand:

• One gallon of water per person per day

• Non-perishable foods and a manual can opener

• First aid and hygiene supplies, including toilet paper and incontinence supplies

• Flashlights, radios and extra batteries, as well as a cell phone and extra battery

• Candles and matches

• A minimum two-week supply of medicines

• Cash, credit cards, and traveler's checks

• Easily accessible phone numbers of relatives and emergency contacts

• Pet supplies, including food and medication, if necessary

It is also recommended important documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies and the like be stored in a waterproof container that can be easily carried in the event of an evacuation.

For more information contact the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center.

The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.

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