Living in Florida, we tend to know the drill. Following the last couple of damage producing hurricanes, everyone knows to get supplies beforehand. For seniors or frail elderly, this is difficult and they will likely rely on family or caregivers to help them get prepared. Fortunately, anyone receiving in-home assistance from a home health care agency will have a personal hurricane plan in place. Bayshore Home Care urges everyone to update their parent’s, and their own emergency hurricane plan.
Remember, you are planning for the actual storm as well as its aftermath…possibly living without electricity for days or even weeks. That means no air conditioning through summer and autumn months – a real danger for anyone with respiratory issues – COPD, and on oxygen. Along the gulf coast, there are many retirees living in Evacuation Zones along or near the water.
Do family members know what your plan is? Some seniors’ ‘plan’ is to go to a shelter; however, shelters are the place of last resort, especially for seniors. They are crowded, likely uncomfortable and may not allow pets. If you or your family member has difficulty walking or caring for themselves, try to find another place to ride out the storm. If you or your family member has special needs (wheelchair, insulin dependent diabetic, using oxygen or cognitively impaired/dementia) then you must register with your county and get a doctor’s note so that a Special Needs Shelter will be prepared for your stay.
Below you will find the websites for shelters in the tri-county area:
Pinellas County: http://gis.pinellascounty.org/knowyourzone/Default.aspx
Pasco County: http://www.pascocountyfl.net/index.aspx?nid=720
Hillsborough County: http://gisweb.hillsboroughcounty.org/heat/Evac_lookups/address.cfm
Bayshore offers this Hurricane Checklist to help you “get prepared”:
- Identify special needs: medications, oxygen, medical equipment and place orders with your suppliers and pharmacy- refill prescriptions now.
- If you will need to go to a Special Needs Shelter, register with the county and get an order from your doctor.
- If you have a generator, are you able to safely use it? Has it been tested since last year?
- Stock up on dried fruit, canned foods (manual can opener), nuts, cereal, foods you can eat cold, non-perishables, juices, peanut butter & jelly, bread and MOST IMPORTANT WATER – enough for 3-5 days and about 6 gallons per person.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Empty out your freezer
- Know the evacuation route and hotels (pet friendly) in your area.
- Have copies of important papers – IDs, insurance documents (medical, home, car, flood and wind), banking information, photos and emergency contact names/numbers.
- Have and test your flashlights, batteries, radio, lighters, first aide kit.
- Stock an ice chest with ice.
- Withdraw some extra cash since ATMs may be out.
- Let family know where you will be
Fla. Dept. of Insurance – 800-342-2762
Emergency Management Pinellas -(727) 464-3800
Emergency Management Hillsborough – (813)-236-3800
Emergency Management Pasco – (727) 847-8137
American Red Cross – (727) 898-3111/813-348-4820