The widespread flooding and state of emergency experienced recently in South Carolina caught many families with elderly and ill loved ones off guard. Below are a few tips to help you prepare for possible relocation and/or evacuation if you have elderly, handicapped or ill loved ones in the event of a natural disaster.
Prepare a Family Disaster Plan
People in potentially vulnerable areas should review their plans and consider actions they need to take if a major storm hits South Carolina.
- Monitor the local news for storm conditions. Check out local weather reports and follow the South Carolina Emergency Management Department (@SCDEMD) social media feeds for emergency information.
- Determine the types of hazards that could affect your family. Assess the vulnerability of your home and the possibility of flooding and wind damage.
- Make plans for your escape route if asked to evacuate. Make arrangements ahead of time for a meeting point of family members, and plan an evacuation route from your home.
- Make plans in advance for your pets. Pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters. Check with your veterinarian about boarding your pets, or other facilities away from the storm’s path.
- Stock up on nonperishable emergency supplies and a disaster supply kit. Make sure to update prescriptions, secure documents and fill the gas tank.
Plan for the Evacuation of Vulnerable Family Members
It is essential to make preparations in advance for the more vulnerable members of our families, such as the elderly, or loved ones with hearing or visual impairments.
- Always ask the person how you can best assist them. An elderly person may not be as quick to respond to a crisis, or may not fully comprehend the extent of an emergency. Be patient in answering questions, especially if the person is confused or unwilling to cooperate.
- Reassure the person that they will receive the medical care they need. Many elderly are fearful of being moved away from their home. It is important to reassure them they are being displaced temporarily.
- Assess your family member’s ability to see and hear. When evacuating offer assistance but let the person explain what help they need. If a person is deaf, written communication will be important to explain the need for evacuation. Be patient to allow the person to understand the urgency of your message. Make sure to take hearing aids and new batteries.
- Gather all medications to take with you. Ask your family member what medication they take and where they are stored to take with you when you evacuate.
MedTrust Medical Transport provides private stretcher/wheelchair or ambulatory medical transport to patients in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Georgetown SC. Our team of EMTs and paramedics are here to help you in as you make your evacuation plans.