Globally, the proportion of older people is growing faster than
any other age group. While it is important to observe that the
older population as a whole is neither helpless nor dependent,
during an emergency, this group is more vulnerable in emergency
situations. Children, disabled people and those with chronic
diseases also share health and safety issues with their elders.
Older people living by themselves might not truly understand the
situation because of failing eyesight or hearing or choose to
believe they won't be affected, because they have survived previous
events during their lifetime. You can begin conversation with your
older neighbours by asking about local hazards they have
experienced, then lead them to think about what additional
assistance they might need to prepare for an event, or evacuate in
need be. Ask if they need special arrangements to receive
Build a personal support network of people who agree to check in
on elderly family members in an emergency and ensure their ability
to give assistance if needed. According to the American Red Cross
these are the things to discuss with this network:
- Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support
network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if
needed, offer assistance.
- Exchange important keys.
- Show where you keep emergency supplies.
- Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation
plans and emergency health information card.
- Agree and practice a communications system regarding how to
contact each other in an emergency. Do not count on the
You and your personal support network should always notify each
other when you are going out of town and when you will return.
Your support group might need to access your house during in an
emergency, either to help you to prepare or to check on your place
while you're away. So provide people in your support group with a
spare house key so that they can enter in an emergency. If they are
unable to contact you by phone, they might visit to check you are
all right and will need access if you don't answer the door.
Include your support group when you prepare your Emergency
Plan, so that everyone understands and feels included in the
process. Provide each member of your support group with a copy, so
that people know what you plan to do and where your plan to go in
an emergency. Your plan also explains how to stay in touch and how
to contact emergency services.
Show your support group where you store your Emergency
Kit and what you've included, in case they have additional
suggestions about what you should include. Do you take essential
medication? Make sure you make a list for your emergency kit and
tell you support group about the essential medication you must take
and the proper dosage. Keep a copy of you pharmacy scripts in your
List your support group contacts on your Emergency
Plan and discuss with them how you plan to keep in touch.
Tell your support group about your nearby contact and out-of-town
contact in case you can't contact each other. Understand that
during an emergency, many more people are trying to use their
mobile phones and landlines to contact family and friends. The
increased calling volume may create network congestion, so keep
calls to a minimum. Learn how to use SMS messaging to inform your
support group about your situation at home or wherever you happen
Limit non-urgent calls. If you have Call Forwarding on your home
number, forward your home number to your wireless number in the
event of an evacuation; so you get calls from your landline phone.
If you are unsuccessful in getting through on your mobile and
landline phone, try sending a text messaging (SMS) or email.
If you are heading out of town and you have a mobile phone and
Call Forwarding on your home number, forward your home number to
your mobile, so that you still receive calls to your landline
phone. You'll avoid unnecessary confusion and worry if you keep
your support group informed, at all times, of you are in hospital
or out of town. Nominate one person as your central contact so that
he or she can pass the message on.
During an emergency, you might become isolated by floodwaters,
so keep a seven-day supply of essential medication at all times.
Keep copies of your essential pharmacy scripts in your
Emergency Kit along with the correct dosage. If you
don't have a script, in an emergency any pharmacy can provide you
with a three-day supply of medication, but you'll need to know the
correct name and dosage. Also, if you cannot pay for the
medication, in an emergency pharmacists can get reimbursement for
those goods, from the Department of Health and Ageing.