Are you ready to leave your home in a moment's notice in the event of an emergency? If you are mature in years, a caretaker, a pet owner, a diabetic, or anyone with advanced medical issues, we want you to have an emergency health care plan.
This is the third in our series of hurricane preparedness checklists. The first was physical home evacuation checklist, the second was a financial and legal document checklist. And, now we are addressing what steps to take to be prepared if you have an emergency that requires you to leave your home in a moment's notice.
1. Medicine, Doctors, Care Plan, Supplies, and Health Care Documents:
It is essential to have a complete list of your medicines as well as your medical providers with their contact information. Everyone you meet asks for the list, so it makes sense to get a comprehensive list completed. Be sure to make a backup and store the same list in at least two different locations in case of a hurricane and the need to exit quickly. Placing information on a thumb drive is a great idea.
Next is a letter explaining your total care plan for your personal health and well-being. This will assist you and others to make provisions in an emergency (e.g., diabetic insulin treatment). The plan should include necessary supplies to take care of you for at least a week. Finally, you need to have a readily available water proof sealable container to take all of these documents and supplies. Can you assemble all of this in a few minutes (what if you fall and had an accident, are these instructions and supplies accessible)? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." – Benjamin Franklin
2. Physical Evacuation Route, Safe Havens, Places with Generators, Health Care Facilities, and Friends and Families Homes:
Your physical evacuation route and where you intend to go for safety should be your next challenge. This information is both personal and geographical. What is your backup plan if you cannot drive or ambulate? You need to know where to go and who will be your support system. Call your local Emergency Management in advance to determine which facilities have generators and accommodations.
3. Fiduciary Responsibility and Caretaker Backup Plan:
If you are helping another individual with their health care, then you should do all of the things suggested for you as an individual plus you will need to establish a backup support system if some foreseeable or unforeseeable event happens to you.
4. Buddy System, Friends, and Family:
This may be redundant to the other topics above and below; however, it stresses the need to plan ahead and discuss your plans with your family and friends. The good old buddy system from elementary school comes in handy when you least expect it.
5. Pets, Pets Health, Pet Backup Plan:
Pets are a part of our family and the need to plan ahead is equally as important and can be the most stressful under an emergency situation. Where to go and what to take with you is similar to the choices and planning discussed for you and your family. It is suggested that you have at least three days of supplies available at all times in case of an emergency. Check out FEMA's Ready Program at www.Ready.gov. Also see www.petmd.com and www.Humanesociety.org.
Some of the comprehensive websites for Emergency Health Care Planning are the following: www.hcoem.org, www.Floridadisaster.org, and www.Collierem.org.