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St. Johns County Disaster Planning for Older Adults

According to Jeff Alexander, Deputy Director of St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center, the official hurricane predictions from the University of Colorado states that there will be 16 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).   It will be a busy season for our county operations.  However, hurricane season has special challenges for older adults, family and their caregivers. It is important to have a basic disaster supply kit as listed on the American Red Cross website but the older adults special needs go beyond that. Older adults can be faced with mobility issues, or chronic health conditions, and/or not have family or friends nearby to support them. Hearing, vision or cognitive impairment may also be a challenge during an emergency.  Our St. Johns County Council on Aging and other support services can help with either care giving, in-home health care, transportation needs and/or meal delivery services, but these services may be delayed due to inaccessibility.

Lists to have on hand:
Emergency Information List
-Medical information list
-List of doctors, relatives, or friends who should be notified if hurt (include phone numbers and addresses)
-Disability related supply list
-List of the style and serial number of medical devices

Daily Needs List.
-Your daily routine
-Special instructions about medications (times and special requirements)
-Actions that cause extra pain and stress.  What do you need to be comfortable? A quiet area, a certain posture to lie down, etc…

What else?

  • Have a back up support network and give a trusted friend or family member a key to your house.
  • Have someone know how to operate your medical equipment such as oxygen or mobile devices.
  • Contact our St. Johns County Emergency Management (EOC) Office at 824-5550. Our EOC offices keep lists of people with disabilities so they can be located quickly in case of an emergency or in need of evacuation assistance. You can register online at their website or call the office. They are always helpful to the public.
  • Find out the location of the special needs evacuation centers nearest you. Know how to get there from your home.
  • Create a support network to help you in an emergency.
  • Tell your support network where you keep your emergency supplies.
  • Let your utility company know of your needs, especially if you depend on electricity to operate medical equipment. They can let you know if the electricity will be disconnected for routine service and may also make your home a priority to get you reconnected as soon as possible.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to help identify your disability.
  • If you are dependent on dialysis or other life sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility where you can receive treatment.

The University of Florida publication, Disaster Planning Tips for Senior Adults (Publication #FCS9198) is an informative publication that gives helpful suggestions on preparation for older adults.  Please check the publication for additional supplies and information.

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