Postal Bulletin Highlights Helping Older Adults Prepare for Emergencies

Natural catastrophes and man-made emergencies affect everyone involved in some way, though these situations are often amplified for communities with older adults.

These individuals often rely on accessible features, such as electrical power, elevators, accessible transportation, and accessible communication, all of which may become unavailable during an emergency event.

Anyone can find preparing for and responding to unexpected emergencies and disasters challenging, time-consuming, and anxiety-inducing. We encourage all to advocate for the health and happiness of older adults and promote their status as esteemed members of our communities.

How can we help older adults prepare for emergencies?

  • Create an emergency tool kit based on their unique disabilities or special needs, such as transportation, shelter, and escape routes.
  • Create a support network that can help during an emergency.
  • Acknowledge that mobility limitations may make it difficult for some individuals to use the stairs or move quickly for long distances.
  • Ensure that food items are available for individual dietary restrictions.
  • Make a detailed list of all prescription medications.
  • Distribute portable notification devices that indicate if someone is knocking on the door, ringing the doorbell, or calling on the phone.
  • Familiarize them with all escape routes and locations of emergency doors and exits on each building floor where they work, live, and visit.
  • Request that a panic/push-button be installed in work and living areas so that others can be notified of their location in an emergency.
  • Ensure that assisted devices, such as canes, walkers, lightweight manual wheelchairs, hearing aids, and breathing apparatus are included in your plan.
  • Ensure that residents of high-rise buildings know the building superintendent’s name, phone number, and contact names of floor monitors and evacuation drill coordinators.

These and other preventative actions can serve as a roadmap for creating a preparedness plan for older adults with disabilities or other special needs, and as a point of reference in the event of a disaster.

Use the following resources to develop or enhance strategies for emergency preparedness:

— National Preparedness,
Corporate Affairs, 9-7-23

Postal Bulletin – September 7, 2023

Source: USPS

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