Children & Elderly

Special Considerations

Planning for both the youngest and oldest of your family members presents some unique issues..  Below are some guidelines and helpful tips for you to consider when planning for children and elderly loved ones.

Children

Emergency planning for a family - especially if you have children - requires extra thought and preparation. You have to take into account additional factors that will help everyone effectively manage a stressful situation.

  • How many children will you need to plan for?
    The number of children you have in your family might climb during a disaster. You might suddenly find yourself responsible for nephews, nieces or even grandchildren. Talk with your relatives and discuss their own emergency preparedness plans so you know the maximum number of children you need to prepare for.
     
  • What are the ages of the children in your plan?
    Age is a very important factor to consider when making your emergency plans. Can they move around on their own? Are they able to communicate injuries or concerns? Are they old enough to drive? Will you need to pack additional diapers, food or baby care items?
     
  • What issues will you need to consider if you have to evacuate?
    Evacuating a disaster area or moving to a shelter with children presents its own set of challenges. You need to plan ahead to make an extended stay away from your home as comfortable as possible. You’ll want to bring along games, books, crafts or other materials to help keep them entertained.
     
  • What if a child is away when a disaster strikes?
    There are times when your family is separated. No one knows when an emergency situation might arise, so you have to prepare for anything. A few easy steps can make all the difference. Be sure your children never leave home without emergency contact information. Be sure they know whom to call first if you’re unavailable. Identify “safe places” in your community where they should go if lost or separated.
     
  • What about children with special health care needs?
    If you have a child with special health care needs, fill out an Emergency Information Form and give copies of it to all of your child’s caregivers (baby sitters, school teachers, grandparents and others). For more information on disaster planning for children with special health care needs.

These are just some of the issues you should consider when making emergency plans that include children. For additional information on planning for children and helpful tips to effectively manage an emergency situation, visit:

Elderly

Older Texans are one of the most at-risk groups when a disaster happens.  If you fall into this group, or you’re making a plan that includes aging parents or elderly relatives, you’ll have to address a number of age-related issues so that an emergency situation is less challenging.

  • What special health-related issues have to be considered?
    A disaster situation might threaten or aggravate the health of an elderly plan member. Create a special contact sheet that has a complete medical history and details important information for emergency/rescue personnel. Make certain a copy is on hand at all times. If you have to evacuate, keep a copy with the elderly plan member in case you become separated. Having a detailed medical history on hand can help medical professionals provide faster treatment and care during an emergency.
     
  • What special medication needs have to be considered?
    If you or an elderly person you’re planning for has a special medication schedule or must take special medications, make sure they’re included in your plan. Do you have a complete list of medications, dosages and times they should be taken? Do you have copies of prescriptions to show emergency/rescue personnel? Do you have someone designated to monitor the dosage schedule and administer medications?
     
  • What special mobility needs must you consider?
    In an emergency situation, sometimes you have no option but to move to a shelter, another city, or even out of the state. If you or the elderly person you’re planning for has special mobility needs, traveling can create challenges you need to consider. What special travel arrangements will you need to prepare for? Will physical exertion aggravate a preexisting condition? Do you have a collapsible wheelchair on-hand?
     
  • Will transportation assistance be needed to evacuate in advance of a hurricane?
    You should try to arrange for transportation prior to any type of disaster.  While emergency responders will work hard to locate all resources necessary, there is no guarantee that local resources will be available in times of disaster.  For more information about evacuation assistance, visit dads.state.tx.us
     
  • Does the elderly person you are planning for require special medical equipment?
    Many older citizens are able to maintain a certain quality of life through the aid of special medical equipment. Some of this equipment may not be available during an emergency, however, because the electricity is out or the equipment can’t be transported. Does special medical equipment limit the mobility or the distance you can travel? Who will be responsible for bringing along the special equipment should you have to evacuate? Do you have spare parts or materials for the equipment in your supplies?

These are just some of the issues you’ll need to consider when making emergency plans that include older Texans. For additional information on planning for aging adults and helpful tips to effectively manage an emergency situation, visit dshs.state.tx.us