Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preparing For Hurricane Season

Hurricane season began on June 1st. To prepare for hurricane season, you should review your insurance policies and find out about flood insurance - some facts and myths about flood insurance are in a post of the PCLS Resident Information Center Blog and more information can be found at www.floodsmart.gov.

Some emergency preparation guidelines from the "Emergency Readiness for Older Adults and Caregivers" publication include:
  • Know the basics: know your evacuation route; know where your shut-off valves are for your household utilities; have a designated contact person who lives away from your local area; get to know your neighbors.
  • Have your emergency supplies ready - have a personal evacuation bag packed and have items necessary to shelter in place.
  • Make a personal plan - What special needs do you have? Do you have limited mobility or receive health care assistance in your home? How will you get this assistance in an emergency?
Detailed checklists for preparing for emergencies can be found in the Emergency Readiness publication mentioned above and the FEMA Are You Ready? guide. Links to more resources for emergency preparedness can be found here.

Pasco County provides emergency shelters for people with special needs, but you need to register ahead of time for these shelters. The registration form can be downloaded here. The completed form must be faxed or mailed to the Pasco County Office of Emergency Management.

You will also need to plan ahead if you have a pet. Pasco County has one shelter that allows pets, but you must meet certain qualifications and pre-register your pet. More information about this program is at this website. The pet registration form can be found here.

After a hurricane or disaster:
Seniors can find help through their local Area Agency on Aging helpline. Within Pasco County, FL the number is 1-800-963-5337 (if you have a local phone) and the number is 1-727-217-8111 (if you have a cell phone from outside the county). For other states, you can locate eldercare services through this search website. To apply for disaster assistance, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency website (FEMA) here. According to a FEMA press release, "Disaster assistance grants are not considered taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, and food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children."

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