Caregivers: How to Plan for a Natural Disaster

Be prepared. Isn’t that a Boy Scout’s motto?

Because I’m Type A, and because I’m not originally from a Gulf State (I’m originally a Torontonian), and because we have children, and because I’m just naturally a worrier – being prepared has become my personal motto.

Calamity can strike at any time, right? I know that it’s unlikely – but when you live close to the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes (and tornadoes) are a very real possibility throughout the disgustingly hot and humid summer months.

There are two choices when a hurricane is headed your way. You can either hunker down (shelter in place) or evacuate to a place that doesn’t typically flood.

If you’re under mandatory evacuation, there’s only one option.

So – how do you prepare for a hurricane, or flooding, or tornadoes, or a house fire, or any kind of calamity that would require a quick escape? It requires a little bit of planning.

Critical Care/Chronic Illness Continuation of Electricity

For many caregivers, the idea of being without power is terrifying. For some of our loved ones, electricity is a necessity to sustain life. For others, especially in the middle of winter or summer, temperature sensitivity can make life extremely dangerous. Depending on where you live, and the energy provider you have, your loved one may qualify for “Critical Care/Chronic Illness Eligibility,” which means that the electricity company will only turn the power off if it is necessary, and will put your home (neighborhood) at the top of the list to restore power if is lost. Contact your local electricity provider and ask about how you can have your residence added to this list.

Document Stash

Gather the most important documents you have – passports, birth certificates, deed to the house, social security cards, etc. Place them in a plastic zipper bag. Then place that bag in another plastic zipper bag. Put them somewhere you will remember and is easily reached in a jam.

When you are made aware of the approaching disaster, add your insurance cards, driver’s licenses, and credit cards to this package.

Medication Refills

Sometimes, you just don’t know when disaster will strike and it happens without warning. In the case of a hurricane, there’s usually some time. Check all your darling’s prescriptions and refill the ones that can be refilled.

Disaster Planning ER Kit

In a medium sized Rubbermaid kit, I like to keep these things handy:

  • Gauze
  • A box of multi-sized bandages
  • Neosporin or some other antibacterial cream
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Saline solution
  • Wound wash
  • Cotton pads
  • Q-tips
  • Pain Reliever
  • Water purification tablets (you can find these at a place that sells camping gear)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • External (charged) battery to charge cell phones if you lose power
  • Some cash money

When you are made aware of a disaster headed your way (in those cases where you know ahead of time) add your darling’s prescription medication and the documents that you have stowed away.

In a situation where the caregiver is likely to do most of the heavy lifting to pack up clothing and equipment, having these items at the ready may help save time when it’s most crucial.

As a side note, please follow the instructions of your City or County Office of Emergency Management. Most of these organizations have a Facebook page that you may follow – this may be the easiest way to get real-time information.

If they tell you to evacuate, do your best to get out and to get out early. If your area is not under mandatory evacuation, most literature suggests that you should be self sufficient without electricity or water for 3-7 days – so, be diligent and prepare in advance.

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Wife, mother, writer, and caregiver. If you're here for support and caregiving life hacks, you've come to the right place.

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