Emergency Preparation with Dependents
Written by Guest Writer Ashley Bergris
Preparing for an emergency when you’re responsible for a dependent adult or child can be overwhelming. After all, there’s no rulebook to follow. What you need to do varies based upon your dependents.
Shelter-In-Place with Dependents
A common response to an emergency is to shelter-in-place. It’s typically assumed you’ll need three days worth of supplies. In addition to having enough water, food, and other standard supplies, you’ll also need to have at minimum three days worth of medical supplies for your dependent. This includes enough to handle three days worth of accidents, mistakes, and complications. You won’t be at your best during an emergency. They tend to significantly increase your stress and reduce your sleep.
Can you both safely function without electricity for three days? If not, you’ll need to invest in a generator capable of supplying enough power to sustain your dependent’s medical care and enough fuel to keep it running for at least three days. A whole house generator is an option if you would like to be extra cozy. I highly recommend having an additional backup generator for the medical equipment in either case in the event your other generator fails.
Anything which is critical to the health and safety of your dependent needs to have a backup. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a duplicate. Maybe you have a gas heater which will operate without electricity and warm a whole floor of your house. The back-up might be a substantial number of warm blankets. You won’t be as comfortable but you also won’t freeze to death. Feel free to be creative! You want at least two things to have to break before anyone’s health or safety is threatened.
Evacuation with Dependents
If an evacuation is announced your dependent will have to leave their home. Are they able to leave their home without medical aid? If an evacuation is necessary and they cannot, you’ll need to arrange for medical transport. You’ll also need to consider where you might evacuate. You may ask about sheltering in place at the local hospital instead of attempting to move the patient far away from home. If your dependent can safely leave the area you’ll need to compile a list of medically necessary supplies to take with you in addition to the typical emergency supplies.
If your list is substantial, make a second with everything which has to be taken for your dependents survival for three days just in case you’re required to leave on extremely short notice. Once you get to a safe place you’ll be able to place an emergency order with a medical equipment provider. Again, this is only if your time is so severely constrained you can’t take everything you need. You don’t want to assume you can acquire medical equipment immediately after evacuation.
Be creative as you come up with solutions for you and your dependent’s needs and don’t forget to practice the routine at least once or twice a year. Consider practicing more if your dependent is young or has difficulty remembering things. Stay safe, cozy, and dry.
Ashley Bergris is the author of Becoming a Medical Mom and blogs at Struggling to Thrive. She spends most of her time taking care of her toddler, diagnosed with Noonan’s Syndrome in late 2015, and coordinating his medical care.