In case of an emergency, especially an evacuation, it’s essential for seniors and their loved ones to have a communication plan.
According to FEMA, the most common reasons for evacuation are fires and floods. It’s important for seniors to know who to contact in case of disaster. A senior’s loved ones need to know who to contact to check on senior safety too.
When a senior is facing a crisis, like emergency evacuation, they need to know how to act quickly. A disaster communication plan helps seniors and their loved ones know what to do to stay safe and connected in case of an emergency.
How a Disaster Communication Plan Works
The first step in any disaster communication plan is to designate an emergency contact who will check in on a senior.
1. Senior and emergency contact person check in with each other
2. Emergency contact coordinates with the senior to evacuate them
3. Loved ones and caregivers can check in with emergency contact about the senior’s status
4. Emergency contact keeps all parties updated
5. When applicable, emergency contact helps the senior return home
6. Emergency contact verifies with all parties that senior may be contacted directly
Seniors should select a secondary emergency contact in case their primary isn’t available. Loved ones and caregivers should receive the emergency contact’s
phone number, email address, and mailing address as well.
Choosing an Emergency Contact
Role of an Emergency Contact
A senior’s emergency contact may be responsible for:
• Keeping up with disaster status in a senior’s home region
• Checking in on senior safety
• Reminding a senior of their emergency plans
• Coordinating the evacuation of a senior
• Connecting with a senior’s loved ones to provide updates
• Helping a senior coordinate their return home
• Navigating health, insurance, and other needs during times of crisis
• Letting loved ones know when a senior can be contacted independently again
When choosing two emergency contacts, seniors should choose people who are:
• From another region (long distance calls are easier to make during disasters)
• Able to make important decisions with good judgment
• Connected to the senior’s loved ones
• Entrusted with access to vital information like accounts, insurance provider info, etc.
• Reliable and able to navigate community, healthcare, and emergency service conversations
• Willing to coordinate with a second emergency contact person
Keep emergency contact numbers in a disaster kit, wallet, and in/near the phone
Provide copies of emergency contact person’s information to loved ones and caregivers
Send copies of essential documents and information to an emergency contact, e.g. insurance cards
Add numbers of local and national agencies to contacts
(CDC, FEMA, CMC, etc.)
In times of crisis, it is unsafe for seniors to navigate the opinions and plans of multiple parties. Verify with seniors and their loved ones that they understand why only one or two emergency contacts should be involved.
If you need assistance with your loved one, give us a call at 602-482-7777. We are available 24/7.