Hurricane Readiness

By on Jul 10, 2018 in News

Hurricane season is here! Even if you have a previously existing plan, it’s worth updating it with new resources for staff and residents. Check out these suggestions for thorough hurricane preparedness for senior living communities.

Post evacuation plans in large print

Ensure that building evacuation plans are clearly posted, in large print and with large graphics, on each floor of each building. It may also be helpful to email residents and their loved ones a copy of the city evacuation routes. Though they may not read it immediately, they will have it as a references when the time approaches.

Prepare the property

Make sure that gutters and downspouts are cleared for the best water management possible. Trim back trees and shrubs, particularly branches that are already weak or worrisome, to minimize property damage and projectiles.

If residents are not required to completely vacate the property, ensure that there is an adequate store of plywood, nails, and other materials that can help maintenance fortify windows leading to units and public spaces.

Honor staff efforts

Create a way to honor staff that excel during times of crisis. Let them know that their efforts are appreciated by residents and leadership within the company.

The Argentum Hero Award, for example, was given to Lisa Thomas for her work during Hurricane Harvey. Thomas is a life enrichment coordinator at Sabine Place, an Enlivant community in Orange, Texas. When the storm forced an evacuation of her community and several relocations as a result, Thomas made the most of the situation and left a lasting legacy at many of Enlivant’s sister communities during temporary stays.

Residents: Create personal support networks

The American Red Cross recommends that seniors create a personal support network. This network consists of multiple people who will check in on the senior in emergency situations. Help seniors create their support network if needed, perhaps one-on-one with a staff member or during an on-campus event.

Encourage preparedness through games

Let’s face it: most residents don’t thoroughly read the emails that you send out. A game night is one way for residents to commit hurricane preparedness tips to memory. Host a game night with games and activities that also teach life-saving tips.

Be generous with the prizes if possible, tailoring them to preparedness items that seniors already need. Think insulated water bottles with built-in filters, durable multitools, and easy-to-use LED flashlights. Consider a grand prize such as a complete, 72-hour preparedness kit. Such expenses are easy write offs and may potentially save lives.