Tornadoes Spur Families to Review Disaster Plans

Deadly tornadoes ripped through the midwest this past weekend. 81 tornado reports were issued in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and in Ohio. The hardest hit was Illinois, Caregiverlist’s home state.

FEMA urges the families of elderly Americans, especially those with medical issues and limited mobility, to review, update and rehearse their disaster plans. And emergency disaster kit is a great idea so that if a disaster strikes, those most vulnerable will be confident they have what they need to “ride out the storm.”

Your disaster emergency kit (care of the FEMA) should include the supplies to last at least three days:

  • Water: at least one gallon per day per person for drinking and sanitation;
  • Food and utensils: foods that are ready to eat and not quickly perishable are ideal;
  • Blankets and extra clothing;
  • A first aid kit, including medical insurance and Medicaid cards;
  • A battery-powered radio and/or a NOAA weather radio;
  • A flashlight with extra batteries;
  • Prescription medicines: These should be rotated frequently and kept up to date;
  • Medical supplies: an extra pair of glasses, hearing-aid batteries and any other personally needed medical devices;
  • An emergency contact list: to reach family, friends and emergency numbers;
  • Extra cash: access to banks and ATMs may be limited for a time.

Your disaster plan should also include a choice of below-ground shelter if the senior lives alone. Make sure disaster preparedness is a question on your checklist if you are looking into choosing a nursing home for your loved one.

The American Red Cross reminds affected residents to return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so.

They should also:

  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes.
  • Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines - immediately report them to the utility companies.
  • If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department
  • Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.

After a disaster, seniors especially can fall prey to scam artists looking to take advantage of the misfortunes of others. Look for legitimate assistance for services through your family member’s State Agency on Aging.

Consider hiring a Home Care Agency if you live a distance away from your senior loved one, so that someone is nearby and is ready to help.

Our hearts go out to those who lost family, friends and homes during these unexpected severe storms. If you’d like to help, you can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

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