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Natural disasters are making headlines and evacuation kits are on everyone's mind. But if you are caring for a loved one, there are different things to consider when it comes to emergency preparation, and your plans should be in place for any crisis.
If you had just a few minutes to leave your home, would you be able to go as calmly as possible, confident that you have the supplies that you and your loved one need? Recent articles are full of information about packing evacuation kits, but caregivers need to think beyond grabbing a flashlight and bottles of water. Naomi D. Jones, RN and Patient Serices Manager for VNSNY, shares five solid tips caregivers need to know to plan for an emergency.
1. Assemble a kit or two. The supplies you need for an undexpected trip to the emergency room differ from those you'd need for a house fire or power failure. In addition to supplies such as flashlight and extra batteries, and hand-crank or solar-powered radio, first aid supplies, water and essential medications, caregivers should be sure to assemble photocopies of insurance cards, emergency phone numbers and a list of other potentially useful prescriptions or medications. (Hint: It's a good idea to give copies of these lists to another person in case you're not able to access them.)
2. Register with the power company and fire department. This way your utility company can contact you in case of an emergency, and if your loved one is on oxygen or depends on life-saving equipment that uses electricity, emergency personnel and rescuers will know to prioritize your loved one's evacuation accordingly. Be sure to register even if utilities are included in your rent and you are not billed directly by the power company.
3. Make a plan—and practice it. Be sure everyone knows where the emergency kit is located.
4. Identify an emergency contact who doesn't live in your area. Provide your contact with phone numbers for your neighbors or local emergency personnel, and ask him or her to call the numbers to check on you in the event that you do not contact him or her.
5. Find out where your nearest evacuation center is located. This might be a municipally designated location, or it could simply be a central place where your family members can meet in the event that you are separated.
To find out how VNSNY can help you care for your family member, please call 1-800-675-0391.