Do you have an emergency evacuation plan for your senior loved one?

BHC disaster main.jpgWhen a home or weather emergency strikes, you may have only minutes to help a senior loved one evacuate from their residence. When you are setting up and maintaining a household for a loved one with mobility issues, it’s important to plan how they can evacuate the home in case of a fire, storm or other natural disaster or emergency.

A wide variety of emergencies may cause a need for evacuation. In some instances, you may have a day or two to prepare, while other situations might call for an immediate evacuation. Planning ahead is vital to ensuring that you can evacuate quickly and safely, no matter what the circumstances.

September is National Preparedness Month, and offers these tips for seniors and others who need alternative accommodations to navigate out of their home in case of an emergency.

  • Make a checklist of medications and equipment such as oxygen tanks or CPAP machines that will need to be packed in the event of an evacuation.
  • If your senior loved one uses a walker or wheelchair, check all exits of their residence to be sure you get through the doorways.
  • Make any necessary accommodations, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways, to facilitate an emergency escape.
  • Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with them.
  • Contact the local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your loved one’s special needs. Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.
  • Keep phones near beds and in sitting areas to call 911 or local emergency numbers if needed.
  • Create a support network. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
  • Be ready to explain to first responders that your senior needs to evacuate and chooses to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant, and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation that may be needed for evacuation. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation options.

Learn more about helping seniors and those with mobility issues or special medical needs evacuate at and