So far, 2020 has been a whirlwind of events from the pandemic to massive wildfires. There have been hurricanes, unusual Colorado snowstorms just days after blistering hot temperatures, and heatwaves. Have you stopped to wonder if your parents know what to do if one of these events affects them?
Talking to your parents about emergency preparations is not fun, but it’s important. Before winter arrives, it’s a good time to talk to your parents about what they should do in different weather events or emergencies. These tips can get you started.
Seek Higher Ground in Flooding
If your parents’ house was in a flood, where would they go? Make sure they understand that they should evacuate if there’s a hurricane coming towards their town. If they needed help evacuating, they could call the police or call one of their local carers for help. They need to get to high ground.
Talk about what they should do it flooding happened and they were at home. They should go to the highest level in their home or their roof and wait for help. Flares can help them, but they need to think about having a white sheet or blanket that they could use to wave around for crews doing searches.
Fire Exit Plan
If there was a fire in your parents’ house, what would they do? Plan out their best emergency exit routes from the rooms they’re often in. If they’re in the living room, where would they go? What if that route is blocked? Would they need different exit paths if they were in bed?
Practice the escape routes often. At least twice a year is ideal, and you can time it with inspections of their fire/smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. When you test their alarms and change batteries, talk about the exit routes they’d take and where to go once they’re outside.
If they reside in a town where there’s a wildfire warning, they evacuate. They shouldn’t wait it out. If they lose their belongings, it will hurt, but items can be replaced. They need to evacuate and find a family friend, family member, or shelter to stay at for now.
Winter Blizzards and Storms
The other weather event to discuss are blizzards and winter storms. Clearing heating and dryer vents is important after a storm. If they can’t do it on their own, you should have someone helping them. A neighbor, elder care aide, or family member should stop by regularly to make sure vents are cleared and that your parents have heat and electricity.
If they don’t have power and there’s no heating source, extra blankets help. They should close themselves up in the bedroom and stay in bed. If the power is out for an extended time, they should leave and stay at someone else’s house.
You may not live close enough to help if there’s a storm or weather emergency. It’s okay. Hire an elder care agency to check on your parents each day or week and make sure they’re fine, even if the weather or environmental conditions aren’t ideal.