Like clockwork, the pacific hurricane season is upon us and our island communities around the State of Hawaii are once again catching up on preparation for their homes, businesses, and loved ones. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and when it comes to reducing the fears of our seniors and their caregivers it’s valuable advice to heed.
Hurricanes present a multitude of risks from high winds, and rains with the potential to cause flooding, to downed trees, power outages and loss of communication; all of which can be a major inconvenience and danger for everyone. For our kupuna that are committed to remaining in their homes there are even higher risks to consider when facing a tropical storm or hurricane.
For caregivers and families taking measures to ensure our kupunas’ continuous care must be top of mind. These resources and tools will provide the assurance you need to safely ride out a storm.
Create a plan with your family and care team
While gusty trade winds are part of everyday living in Hawaii, sustained hurricane-force winds of 73 mph or stronger are cause for concern. The National Weather Service will issue a tropical storm or hurricane warning within 48 hours before heavy winds and rain are expected to arrive; allowing residents of the warning area ample time to prepare.
Use this time to touch base with your loved one, your family and care team. Think about what preparation steps need to be taken and create a well-established network of emergency contacts. Consider getting additional care coverage or recruit the help of neighbors in case your loved one lives alone. You will feel more at ease knowing your loved one is safe and supported.
Prepare an emergency kit
There are many steps people should take to prepare for severe weather, from putting together a supply kit to mapping out evacuation routes. For kupuna, however, it is important to take additional steps in order to ensure their special needs are handled effectively.
Having a supply kit is one of the most important things to prepare for your loved one to safely ride out a storm and quickly recover. Use the hurricane preparedness checklist to ensure all safety precautions are taken.
• Download: Kupuna Hurricane Preparedness Checklist (PDF)
Keep items in a movable container, such as a backpack, duffel bag, or box with wheels, so they can be transported to the main living area or take with them during an evacuation.
Determine evacuation plans
If your kupuna needs special equipment or mobility aids with them should they evacuate, make sure everything is labeled with their name and address, and their and your phone number. If equipment goes missing, it can be returned with ease.
Should your kupuna be unable to evacuate their home on their own, reach out to local emergency authorities. They will be able to assist in the event of an evacuation order.
You can never be too cautious when dealing with natural disasters and it is never too early to start preparing. As Hawaii has experienced in the past, much of the damage and loss of life associated with hurricanes can be prevented or reduced by planning, preparation, or evacuation.
Here at Home Care by ALTRES Medical, we know that nothing is more important to you than the care and safety of your aging loved one. The potential for emergencies, like hurricanes, highlights the importance of making sure that your loved one is not only living comfortably but also safely in their home. To learn more about our home care services, feel free to contact us today.
Additional hurricane safety resources:
• Department of Homeland Security
• Hawaiian Electric Emergency Preparedness Handbook