There are more than 40 million people over the age of 65 in the US and three-fourths suffer from a serious health condition. If your parents fall into this category (or will soon), you may need to help them plan for an emergency.
1. Delayed Emergency Services. During an incident that affects an entire city, state, or even an entire region, it is likely that emergency services will take much longer than usual to respond to calls. In some cases, first responders may need a day or more to respond to calls for service. If your parents have emergency supplies and a plan for what to do and who to contact during an emergency, your parents may not need to call on limited first responder resources.
2. Telecommunications Outages. Prepare for interruptions in phone service by having multiple ways to contact your parents or grandparents. Get contact information for a nearby friend or neighbor that can check on your parents if you can’t reach them. Landlines should work if power is out, but cordless phones and phone systems that rely on newer technologies will not. Confirm your parents have a phone that doesn’t require external power before assuming the landline will work. If your parents don’t have a cell phone, talk to them about getting one for emergencies. Teach them how to use text messages and email as alternate forms of communication and remind them to keep the phone charged at all times.
3. Transportation Disruptions. Travel—across town or across the country—may be difficult or impossible following a disaster. Preparing your parents in advance means their safety won’t depend on your ability to travel.
4. Closed Pharmacies. Older Americans use more prescription and non-prescription medicines than all other generations. Ensure that your parents have extra medicine on-hand in case pharmacies are temporarily closed. Many conditions that are managed by prescription drugs—like diabetes or cardiovascular disease—can deteriorate rapidly if doses are missed. This is also true for lifesaving treatments like dialysis. Contact the local emergency management agency to find out where to go for critical care in a disaster.
5. Peace of Mind. The biggest reason to make sure your parents have a plan is that it gives your family peace of mind. If you cannot reach them by phone or get to them in person, you will feel better knowing they have the necessary food, water, medicine, and basic supplies to get through an emergency.
Man-Machine Systems Assessment, Inc (MSA) is an Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) headquartered in Arlington, Virginia serving those that support the public interest. MSA is passionate about our Warfighters and the preparedness of our nation; working diligently to evaluate defense systems, ensure continuity of operations and support mission critical programs. MSA has over twenty-five years of experience in government contract management for a wide variety of contract types.