Emergency Preparedness is often talked about in relation to terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but there are many other emergencies that we should be prepared for, such as a medical emergency, power outage or a fire.
There are some simple things we can do to make sure our home and family are ready for any emergency. For the aging community there may be some extra steps to take regarding medical issues or staying safe in your home as well. Each County Office on Aging in New Jersey has participated in their counties Emergency Preparedness Plan. If you have questions, please contact your local County Office on Aging, click here for a listing.
Keep a list of Emergency Phone Numbers. This list should include, police, fire, doctors, poison¬†¬†¬†Control, and a family member or neighbors phone number.
An Emergency Supply Kit is also a good idea. It should contain things you need on a daily basis, such as; water, food, flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, moist towelettes and or hand sanitizer, personal hygiene items, garbage bags, radio, important documents, blanket, change of clothes, ¬† and anything else you think you would need if you had to leave your house or if you were¬†trapped in your house. Be sure to keep your cell phone and charger nearby.
Consider switching any Federal benefit payments, such as Social Security, to direct deposit to¬† avoid any financial issues should your mail be disrupted in an emergency.
Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors are essential for preventing a fire, as well as, alerting you to danger so you can get out of the home quickly. Be sure to check that they are in¬†working order and change the batteries twice a year. You should also have a qualified technician inspect any fuel-burning appliances or chimneys to make sure they are in working order.
Fire Extinguishers are a necessity in every home. Class ABC (multipurpose dry chemical) are¬†¬†recommended for home use. Everyone in your home should know where the fire extinguishers¬†are and how to use them.
Limit use of space heaters, and use with caution. Be sure all electrical cords and light bulbs are in¬†good condition and being utilized properly. Avoid kitchen fires by cleaning your stove and¬†exhaust hood, be sure to use caution near a hot burner.
¬†An Emergency Exit Plan is something important to have in case of a fire or other emergency.
Make sure everyone in the home knows the plan, including a meeting place outside of the¬†home, if you live alone; share your plan with a family member, friend or neighbor. It is good to¬†make a plan in regard to temporary shelter in an emergency, such as with a family or friend or a¬†public shelter.
Good lighting on stairs and in hallways can reduce your risk of falling. Nightlights and flashlights are an effective way to keep safe in an emergency.
Cords should be kept out of the flow of traffic.
Make sure all area rugs, runner or mats are slip-resistant.
Grab bars and handrails can help prevent falls in the bath or shower.
There are many resources from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) online at www.state.nj.us/njoem, such as NJ ALERT, which is a service you can register with that will send alerts via cell phones in case of an emergency. ¬†At NJOEM‚Äôs website people with special needs can also register with the Special Needs Disaster Registry so they know that you may need extra help in an emergency.¬†
You can also contact the following sources for more information:
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management- www.state.nj.us/njoem
Department of Homeland Security – www.ready.gov
Poison Control National Hotline- 800-222-1222
Division of Consumer Affairs- 800-242-5846 or www.njconsumeraffairs.gov
US Dept. of Treasury, Direct Deposit information- 800-333-1795 or www.godirect.org
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – www.fema.gov or (202) 646-2500
Red Cross – www.redcross.org or 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767)