hurricane_safety_instagramWhile New England wasn’t affected by Hurricane Florence—which recently caused extensive damage in the Carolinas—it doesn’t mean the region couldn’t still face a powerful storm.

Hurricane season lasts through Nov. 30—Hurricane Sandy hit Rhode Island in late October 2012 causing flooding and damage throughout the state—and the National Weather Service recommends keeping a storm emergency plan in place and making one now if you haven’t yet.

This advice holds for anyone who may be a storm’s path. But, for those in frail health—such as homebound senior citizens—preparing for and staying safe during a hurricane may be especially challenging, as examined in this New York Times article.

Seniors dependent on medicines, who live alone, who are not safely able to leave their home on their own in the event of an emergency or who are dependent on electronic health aids need to be especially vigilant about preparing for a storm.

You can help an elderly family member, friend or neighbor stay safe with the following:

Before a storm

  • Prepare an emergency kit for them. They should have at least three days of water and non-perishable food. The kit should also contain a flashlight, first aid kit, battery-powered radio and extra batteries.
  • Make sure they have at least a 10-day supply of medicine. They should wear a bracelet that makes their condition easily identifiable to emergency workers.
  • Develop an emergency plan with them. This should determine how you will contact them, where they will go, how they will get there and what they will do in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure they understand National Weather Service forecast offerings—including knowing the difference between a storm watch and warning.
  • Help them enroll in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry, which notifies first responders when they are called to a household with a person who may need extra help in an emergency. This includes persons using life support systems, are insulin-dependent, who have mobility issues, are visually or hearing impaired or have mental health issues.

As a storm approaches

  • Help them secure their home by boarding up all their windows.
  • Reinforce their emergency plan.

During a storm

  • If it is safe to remain in their home, reiterate that they stay away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Encourage them to remain in an interior room, away from their home’s entrance.
  • Make sure they are following radio or TV stations for storm news.
  • If they are ordered to evacuate, make sure they do according to the developed emergency plan.

After a storm

  • If they have lost electricity, help them find shelter until their power has been restored.
  • Help check their home loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage—and report any on their behalf.