At VIPcare, we talk a lot about preventative care. It helps to ward off illness, disease, and other health problems. It also helps to catch potential conditions early before they become too hard to treat. It’s all about prevention and taking preventative measures. But preventative measures don’t just apply to your health. They’re also relevant to other aspects of your life, including hurricane preparation.
If you live in Florida or are from the southern peninsula, you’re no stranger to the seasons – there’s tourist, summer, and hurricane season! And if last year’s tragic hurricane season taught us anything, it’s that we need to be prepared for the worst no matter what we think may or may not happen. By taking preventative measures, you’re ready for when the storm happens, and you’re not having to scramble at the last minute.
Hurricane season began June 1st and lasts until November 30th. And this season is expected to be anything but quiet. Colorado State University predicts an “above average” hurricane season with 18 named storms and major hurricanes making landfall. This makes being prepared all that much more important, especially for seniors and those with chronic health conditions and disabilities.
Here are some preventative measures to ensure you’re ready for whatever the hurricane season may bring.
Establish a Shelter Plan
If a hurricane strikes, you need to have a plan on where you will be riding out the storm. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to decide this. Roads become congested, hotels get booked, and options become increasingly limited. Now is the time to discuss your shelter and evacuation options with family and friends.
Are you able to safely and securely shelter in place? Do you have any specific medical needs that may be compromised if you stay and lose power? It’s important to remember that you’re not only making decisions and plans for during the storm but also for after the storm passes through. Once a storm comes and goes, you could be without power for days, even weeks.
If it isn’t safe to stay, you must have an evacuation plan. Know where you will be going and inform family and friends. Check with the local authorities to identify transportation options and road conditions. If you require special medical attention, seek a special needs shelter. Contact your local emergency management office or health department for eligibility and to complete the required pre-registration.
Create a Medical Plan
Many seniors have special medical needs, whether it be scheduled treatments like chemotherapy and dialysis or just necessary medications that must be taken routinely. These are all critical things that must be taken into consideration and planned for before a hurricane hits.
Prior to a storm, work with your care team and establish a plan of action and backup plan in the case of impact. Outline your current treatment plan with your care team in case you need to seek medical treatment from your evacuated location.
If you take medication, be sure to have at least two weeks’ worth. If you can extend it longer, do so. Do not wait until the last minute in case you need to contact your health insurance for refill approval. You should also have non-prescription essential medications, such as aspirin, pain relievers, antacids, laxatives, and anti-diarrhea medication, on hand. During a storm, store supplies will become limited, and hours will be cut.
In addition to your medications, be sure to have copies of important papers like your medical history, social security card, health insurance cards, and immunization records readily available.
Put together A Basic Hurricane Survival Kit
Along with all of your medications and important papers, you should have a basic hurricane survival kit put together. This survival kit will make your evacuation easier or support you as you hunker down from the storm. These items should already be purchased and stored in a safe place before a storm approaches to prevent last-minute store shortages. Items in your kit should include:
- Non-perishable food, such as canned items
- Can opener
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Battery-powered radio
- Medical-related items, including an extra pair of eyeglasses and extra batteries for hearing aids
- Personal hygiene items
- Whistle to signal for help
Be Prepared with Hurricane Preventative Measures
Hurricanes are unpredictable and, many times, disastrous. And that’s why, just like with your health, it’s best to take hurricane preventative measures to prepare if something happens. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get your hurricane plans in order and be ready for not if but when a hurricane hits.