Emergency Evacuation Preparation
According to FEMA, the most common reasons for evacuation are fires and floods. It’s important for seniors to have an emergency contact plan so they know who to contact in case of disaster. In addition, a senior’s loved ones and caregivers need to know who to contact to check on the senior’s safety. (OSHA)
When a senior is facing a crisis, like emergency evacuation, they need to know how to act quickly. A disaster communication plan helps seniors and their loved ones know what to do to stay safe and connected in case of emergency.
How a Disaster Communication Plan Works
The first step in any disaster communication plan is to designate an emergency contact who will check in on the senior.
- Senior and emergency contact person check in with each other
- Emergency contact coordinates with the senior to evacuate them
- Loved ones and caregivers can check in with emergency contact about the senior’s status
- Emergency contact keeps all parties updated
- When applicable, emergency contact helps senior return home
- Emergency contact verifies with all parties that senior may be contacted directly
As part of their emergency contact plan, seniors should select a secondary emergency contact in case their primary isn’t available. Loved ones and caregivers should receive the emergency contact’s phone number, email address, and mailing address as well. (CDC)
Role of an Emergency Contact
A senior’s emergency contact may be responsible for:
- Keeping up with disaster status in the senior’s home region
- Checking in on their safety
- Reminding the senior what their emergency plans are
- Coordinating the evacuation of the senior
- Connecting with the senior’s loved ones to provide updates
- Helping coordinate their return home
- Navigating health, insurance, and other needs during times of crisis
- Letting loved ones know when the senior can be contacted independently again (CDC)
Choosing an Emergency Contact
When choosing two emergency contacts, seniors should choose people who are:
- From another region (long-distance calls are easier to make during disasters)
- Able to make crucial decisions with good judgment
- Connected to the senior’s loved ones
- Entrusted with access to vital information like accounts, insurance provider info, etc.
- Reliable and able to navigate community, healthcare, and emergency service conversations
- Willing to coordinate with a second emergency contact person (Red Cross)
Home Care Tip
In times of crisis, it is unsafe for seniors to navigate the opinions and plans of multiple parties. Verify with seniors and their loved ones that they understand why only one or two emergency contacts should be involved.