Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Diego Fires: Caring for the Elderly

When caring for an aging family member and loved one, it is crucial to be prepared, especially during fire season and in case of a fire. Preparing your home and your loved ones for such an emergency can prevent tragedy later. Here are some basic tips to help you during the fire season:

1. Make sure all medications are easily accessible and available. Keep a week's worth in the car or in a purse in case you're not at home when an evacuation happens. Also keep a list of medications and dosages. Here are some tips for safe medication storage.

2. Drink plenty of water. The heat and dry wind conditions associated with the fire season can dehydrate the elderly quickly.

3. Stay inside. Keep elderly loved ones indoors, both the elderly and children are more susceptible to smoke inhalation and bad air quality. For more information about the dangers of smoke inhalation for elderly, click here.

4. Avoid wearing dust masks. "Wearing a dust mask, wet or dry bandanna or surgical mask is not effective to reduce smoke. In order for a mask to work, it must filter fine particles, such as a HEPA filer. These are difficult to wear and are easily worn improperly and can interfere with breathing."

5. Be organized. A basic-emergency preparedness checklist can help you prepare in care of an emergency.

6. Fill out an emergency contact and medical form. Make copies of the completed form and keep one next to each telephone in your home and other locations where they can be quickly accessed for handy reference.

7. Prepare an escape plan. Make sure you have a plan for leaving the house quickly with your loved one. Practice it to make sure you can get out quickly and efficiently. If your loved one does not live with you, make sure his or her care facility has a plan.

8. Leave the area. If a fire threatens your immediate area, evacuate immediately. As stated earlier the elderly are more susceptible to the dangers of fire. Leaving the area sooner, rather than later, can help you to avoid these dangers. For tips for traveling with older adults, click here.

More information from AGIS:

Home Safety

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