We recently completed one of our radio spots on KMUN public radio (91.9 FM). It's a monthly spot entitled "A Senior Moment" and airs the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. We've been doing this a while now and been able to give out a lot of information covering both Pacific and Clatsop counties. This past week, we hit some highlights regarding disaster preparedness, following on the one-year anniversary of the big storm.
In many of the follow-up meetings, community members and other agency representatives had the opportunity to brainstorm and discuss what could have been done - or done better. It was great to see the community coming together to talk about issues concerning all of us.
This time out, I want to give simple basic simple planning points regarding being prepared (as much as we can) for such emergencies. I also want to recommend a pamphlet available through the Red Cross, titled "Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors." It's put together in a flip-book format and covers topics such medical emergency supplies, shelter in place, residential fires and others.
For a quick reference, here are five points to consider and/or plans to make:
? First Aid Kit - Rather than a generic kit (though better than none), consider adding a list of your current prescriptions and medical information (allergies, insurance cards, etc.). Do you wear glasses? If you have an extra pair, toss them in. The same goes for extra batteries for hearing aids and so on.
? Emergency Lighting - It's a good idea to have plug-in flashlights that charge themselves when the power's on. There are also various types of inexpensive battery-powered stick-up lights available - remember to periodically check the batteries. Also, small penlight flashlights fit easily in your car, purse or on your nightstand.
? Bedside Items - Another good place for a flashlight. Also, consider a good pair of shoes in case you have to stumble around a bit in the dark. Slippers are comfortable, but not very sturdy, and in case of emergency you don't want to spend time trying to find your shoes.
? Is there a neighborhood assembly point? - Many folks have gone through neighborhood meetings in order to get to know each other, and have decided on a centralized meeting place in case of emergency. Activities and projects such as Mapping Your Neighborhood are useful for this.
? Emergency Contacts - It's great to have friends for 50 years. They may even be noted somewhere as your emergency contact; but are they able to get about independently and safely? Or do they, too, need emergency contacts that may be able to check on them?
One more thing: It's great to have a cordless phone so you can keep it near you. However, as you may have discovered, if the power's out, so is the phone. The old land-line phones usually work when the power's out, so dig them out of the closet, find a phone jack and you're set.
Also, technology is great. The various equipment that allows us to remain home, such as oxygen condensers and nebulizers are quite often literally, lifesavers, and much easier to manage than those old heavy tanks. Again, think power - or the lack thereof. Oxygen tanks aren't decorative, but they will make oxygen available regardless of electricity.
For more information and resources, contact your local Red Cross, or the county emergency services (642-9340 or 875-9340). And remember your fire department: If you have no power, they have generators and may be able to assist with nebulizer treatments and oxygen bottle refills.
Is that it? No, but this can be a starting point ... for all of us.