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Emergency preparedness: Seniors and people with special needs

(NC) -- While disasters and emergencies affect everyone, their impact on people with special needs is often compounded by factors such as reliance on electrical power, elevators, and accessible transportation – all of which can be compromised in these situations.

Public Safety Canada offers these tips for seniors and people with special needs:

• Create a personal support network of at least three people that can help. Ensure they are aware of your needs (such as prescription medication) and how to operate any equipment you require.

• Make an emergency contact list with the names and phone numbers of your personal support network, doctors, neighbours, etc. Keep a copy of this list handy and share it with these same people.

• Familiarize yourself with all escape routes and location of emergency doors and exits in your home.

• Have a panic button installed in the building where you work or live so that you can notify others of your whereabouts if you need assistance.

• Create a basic emergency kit tailored to meet your specific needs. You may wish to include things such as:

- Special devices such as canes, walkers, lightweight manual wheelchairs, hearing aids, breathing apparatus, blood glucose monitoring device.

- Prescription eyewear and footwear (if required).

- Extra supply of medications (if possible) and vitamin supplements.

- List of all medical supplies and equipment related to your age or medical condition.

- Copies of all medication prescriptions.

- Extra dentures (if required) and cleaner.

- Latex-free gloves (to give to anyone providing personal care to you).

- Food and other items for your pet or service animal.

• If you have a pet or service animal, bring it with you in case of an evacuation and have an emergency plan for your animal as well.

More information is available at