Week 18 – Seniors – Are you Prepared to Survive an Earthquake?


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By Jackie Kloosterboer – Speaker, Trainer, Author – My Earthquake Preparedness Guide 

QUESTION: As a senior how can you better survive an Earthquake?

I present sessions to seniors on Earthquake preparedness and I know from the groups that sit in front of me, like everything else seniors are not able to be categorized into one group. There is a range and that is true with life.  So while this Bog addresses seniors it is by no means for seniors only. We can all learn from it. 

Whether you are a senior or a junior or somewhere in between – the key to Earthquake Preparedness is to take the necessary steps to ensure you, your family and pets are prepared for whatever disaster comes your way.

Whatever stage you are in life – you must adapt your Earthquake Preparedness Plan to work for your current situation.  As we age we may not be able to do what we used to do – but that is ok – ask for help.  The key is – Get your Earthquake Plans in place.  

That is how you will better survive an Earthquake!

When conducting Earthquake Preparedness Sessions for seniors the 4 steps below are covered in detail. This is a great place to start – but you need to be aware there may be additional steps to take.  

These steps have been covered in detail in earlier blog posts – so refer back to the posts.  They can be adapted to your specific needs to ensure you have a robust Earthquake Preparedness Plan:

  1. You must have a way to connect with family
  2. You must have Earthquake supplies
  3. You must ensure your home is as safe as possible
  4. You must have a plan to evacuate your home

Following these 4 steps will help you better survive an earthquake or any disaster you may be faced with. 

1.   Connecting with Family:  Our families will always be our number one concern after an earthquake and we need to have a plan to connect with them. An Out of Area Contact is one way to connect. It is simple and easy to put into place. Click on the link to get the details on how to set up your Out of Area Contact and learn other ways to connect with your family.  

Check with your Family Dr before storing any meds!

2.    Earthquake Supplies:  To better survive an Earthquake you must have adequate supplies on hand. Your life style will determine what supplies you will need and this could be different for each of us.  What are your daily routines?  What medications do you require? Always check with your family Doctor before storing any medications. Do your grandkids visit often – do you need to have supplies specific to them? 


Grab & Go Kit

Look at your own life and determine what you need to store in addition to the basic items we all need. If you don’t have a Grab and Go Kit this was covered week 1 and 2 in my Blog – Grab & Go Kits and Grab & Go Kits Additional Items.  

     Depending on your unique situation you may need some additional help creating your earthquake kits.  Ask your kids or grandkids to help.  A great idea that can make life much simpler is when family asks what you want for your Birthday or Christmas ask them for an Earthquake Kit. Buying a ready-made Earthquake kit can be a great solution to help ensure you are better prepared. Just remember even with a ready made kit you will need to add your own personal items.

Make sure items are properly stored!

3.    Make your Home Safe: Making sure your home is safe is absolutely necessary. Most injuries in an earthquake happen from people doing the wrong thing or being injured from falling debris, tumbling bookcases that were not secured or from items shooting across the room like projectiles.  

     If you are unable to do this yourself reach out to family or friends to help you secure those heavy items.  You want to make sure your home is safe for you, your family, grandkids and your pets. Refer to Weeks13 and Week 14 to help you identify what needs to be done in your home to make it safer when an Earthquake strikes..

4.    Evacuating your Home:  Depending on your level of mobility this may require some extra planning. If you are able-bodied practice evacuating from your house or apartment and go to your family meeting place.  Week 7 outlines how to develop your family meeting place.  If you live in an apartment remember that the elevators will not be working if there is a fire or major earthquake and you will need to use the stairs.  Check with your building manager to find out what plans may already be in place. Some buildings will have a refuge area where people who need assistance may gather.
If maneuvering the stairs is an issue for you – maybe you have a neighbor that could come and assist you? Talk to your neighbours and let them know your concerns and your plans. You will be amazed at how willing they are to help.  

Facilitating one of my Earthquake Preparedness Workshop for Seniors, there was a lady who was in a wheelchair and she was not able to use the stairs.  She said if there was ever a fire she would not be able to get out of her 3rd floor apartment.  

I suggested she talk to her neighbours and see if anyone could assist her. One of her neighbours was at the workshop and said she would be more than happy to help. They developed a plan.  When the fire alarm goes off the senior who lived next door would knock on her door (if it was safe to do so) and see if she was home.  If she was home she would let the Fire Department know about the lady in her apartment so the Fire Department could assist her.  

6 ½ months later there was a fire at this building and their plan worked beautifully. The Fire Department was able to go in and assist the lady in the wheelchair. Had they not created this plan – would the fire department have been able to help her? Probably yes but it may have taken a lot longer to figure out there was a lady in a wheelchair stranded in her apartment. Planning ahead is always the best policy.
Another workshop I conducted for a Seniors Group had an old fellow in his late 80’s. He used a walker when going outside and a cane when he was in his apartment. His problem was he was always misplacing his cane. He said if evacuated he would be able to maneuver the stairs if he had his cane but in a fire he might not have time to find it. 

His solution – keep an old umbrella by the door – he never used the umbrella and knew it would always be there waiting for him and the umbrella could certainly work as a cane in an emergency.                  
This is how you adapt plans to work for your situation!

You’re Task for Week #18

  1. Ensure you have supplies to last a week safely stored in your home. Make sure you have a Grab & Go Kit with items you will need if you must evacuate from your home.
  2. Make sure your home is safe and items are properly secured.
  3. Practice evacuating from your home – if you are unable to evacuate check with a neighbour to see if they would be willing to help you during a disaster. 
  4. Reach out to family or friends who may be able to help you get better prepared for Earthquakes or any disaster you may be faced with.
Week 19 we will look at what to do when the earth starts moving.
Have questions – don’t hesitate to ask. Until next week – Stay safe and make sure you, your family and pets are prepared for earthquake or any disaster that may come your way.
Jackie Kloosterboer – BIO
Jackie Kloosterboer has been leading the way in earthquake preparedness for 2 decades presenting more than 100 Earthquake Preparedness sessions each year to a variety of groups and businesses. She is often interviewed by a variety of media outlets across Canada as she promotes the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness.
As an Emergency Preparedness Specialist and an Instructor with the Justice Institute of BC Jackie travels across Canada teaching people how to respond to disasters to help those who have been displaced. Throughout British Columbia Jackie has taken on leadership roles assisting those who have been impacted by disaster.

Contact Jackie to speak at your next group or business event to help you, your family, your staff and pets get prepared for earthquakes or whatever disaster comes your way. Jackie will lead you through the necessary steps helping you identify what is important to you and your family or business.  

Contact Jackie with any questions or to book her for your next event at jackie@survive-it.ca or call (604) 355-2414

Jackie is available for:
Earthquake Preparedness Presentations
Preparedness Plans
In-Home Walk-Throughs
Preparedness Kits
Media Interviews

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