Senior Safety: May is Older Americans Month

Red Cross Los Angeles Senior Safety Month
The American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens create a personal network made up of several people who will check in and help you stay safe and well in an emergency.

With age comes wisdom, as the old saw goes. The golden years also bring discounts on movies, buses, some early-bird specials at restaurants. But, this time of life also creates some special needs when it comes to being safe during a disaster.

The American Red Cross recommends that senior citizens create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on you in an emergency, to ensure your wellness and to give assistance if needed. This network can consist of friends, roommates, family members, relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors. Ideally, a minimum of three people can be identified at each location where you regularly spend time, for example at work, home, school or volunteer site.

There are eight important items to discuss and implement with a personal support network:

1. In the event of an earthquake, and if you are unable to duck under a heavy object to protect yourself, sit down in a safe place away from falling objects and cover your head with a pillow.

2. Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to check on you immediately after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.

3. Exchange important keys.

4. Show care takers where you keep emergency supplies.

5. Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.

6. Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.

7. You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.

8. The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other's needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You might take responsibility for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings and interpreting, among other things.

Visit PrepareSoCal.org for detailed information about how you and your family can prepare for disasters.