Planning For Emergency Weather When It Strikes The Area

Chautauqua County has its share of weather emergencies. Are you as prepared as you should be? Summer, fall, winter and spring weather can bring many challenges for everyone. The power may go out or temperatures can be difficult to keep cool or to keep warm enough. People of all ages may want to take the time to prepare for these types of emergencies. People with special needs with sight, hearing and mobility will have additional items to be addressed so that they are prepared to manage in emergency situations. There are a few basic things to consider when planning to be prepared for weather emergencies.

Have a communication plan. At minimum, create a list of emergency contact with names, address, and phone numbers. This can be difficult if the power is off and you have no lights! Also have a medical list of your doctors, pharmacy and listing of all medications you take. Make sure you put down any allergies you may have to medications or foods. Many people have smart cell phones that allow you to program “I.C.E.” (in case of emergency) contact name and numbers. There are also many apps available, check the Apple I-Tune store or Google play store for some ideas. If you need equipment at home like oxygen, hearing aids, electric chairs/scooters, stair lifts-anything that requires electricity- be prepared and have these items fully charged. This includes your smart phone! Keep a list of these items that require electricity or battery backup in case you need to ask for assistance from utility companies, or local fire departments. You don’t want to forget anything on your list when things may get busy. If you have a medical alert bracelet-wear it!

Make an emergency kit. This could be a back pack with essentials you will need if you have to shelter in place or evacuate. This should include a copy of the communication plan from above including contact name and numbers, doctor, pharmacy and medication lists along with any allergies. You should have a change of clothes, a flashlight, extra batteries, a set of keys to your home, first aid supplies, water and stable food items like granola bars or peanut butter. Also important is a small supply of your medications. You may want to include important information like insurance information and other documents. Consider a hand crank radio, cell phone charger, can opener and pet food if you have a pet! This is a lot, but your emergency pack should have a bit of everything you need in an emergency. It is also wise to update and check this kit regularly.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA has several good publications for heat, floods, thunderstorms and lightening, tornadoes, fires emergencies and power outages. You can find these at www.ready.gov/be-informed There are many more ideas to improve your emergency kits. Bottom line is you need to think it out, make a plan, put together the supplies, and update it regularly.

NY Connects is the place to call to get connected to the help you need. It is the aging and disability resource center. NY Connects assists people of all ages. NY Connects offers information and assistance about local services that you may be eligible for to help you in the community. It is confidential and free and focused on the consumer’s needs and resources available to them. The NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582 or 661-7582 or e-mail us at CCNYC@co.chautauqua.ny.us. NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.