Surviving The Storm 
by Robert Goodman

Hurricane season has arrived. Are you prepared? Do you know what to do? Do you know where to get the special assistance your loved ones need and how to get them to safety?

Get the answers to these questions now, so when a storm or emergency does arrive, you will be prepared.

Where Will Your Loved One Go?

If your loved one lives in an evacuation zone, count on her leaving the house and plan her escape route, including her destination. If she is going to weather the storm at the house of a friend or relative, check out the route now. If roads are washed out or closed, do you know an alternate route?

Most nursing homes, and all those in Florida, are required to have a disaster plan. Find out what it is, exactly what will occur to your loved one and who will supervise him during and after the storm. Ask if a healthy spouse or caregiver can find shelter there as well.

Those who live alone, no matter how capable in normal situations, should not be alone during a storm. They should either have others come to their home or they should arrange to stay with others.

Transportation may not be available for several days after the storm. Let the emergency management office know if your loved one cannot drive and will need to be evacuated. Do this now. Arrange with a friend or relative to help with transportation if the need arises.

Staying Home

When staying at home, it is recommended to stock up on enough food and supplies for at least two weeks. Remember that in all likelihood the power will go out. Get plenty of batteries and store food that does not need refrigeration. Plan on cooking on portable stoves If your loved one receives meals on wheels, request meals for a week or make arrangements for her to go someplace where she can receive the appropriate care during this time.

If your loved one depends on life support equipment or air conditioning, register him with the local power and telephone company, as well as the local disaster preparedness agency. If he uses oxygen, ask his supplier to give him portable tanks. Talk to a doctor and determine if he needs to be admitted to a hospital prior to the emergency. Again, make these calls now.

The local media will publish lists of supplies, which should be purchased in advance. Personalize that list by adding the items specific to the needs of yourself and your loved ones. Go over this list with them. Make sure there is enough medication and medical supplies to last the storm and its aftermath. All needed supplies should be stored so they are accessible and protected from possible water damage. Make a list of important numbers and keep it with you at all times.

Don't wait until the last minute, when time, supplies and spaces at facilities are running out. The closer the storm comes, the more difficult it is to get the information and assistance you need. Being prepared and making arrangements before the weatherman informs you of approaching danger are the best ways to insure the safety and well being of your family and loved ones.

Contact your local Office of Emergency Management, or Office of Public Safety, for the specific resources and information available for your area. 

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