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Seniors: In Case of Emergency, It Helps to be Prepared

By Heather Maloney
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center staff

With winter weather headed our way, many people worry about how to handle an emergency and the experts say the best thing you can do is be prepared.

"Fortunately, here in New England, we don't worry much about tornados and tsunamis," says Dr. Suzanne Salamon, Associate Chief for Clinical Geriatrics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Instead, our concerns are more around flu epidemics, blizzards and possible power outages."

emergency signThe best thing you can do, Dr. Salamon says, is be prepared.

"Emergency planning has two parts," she says. "Staying at home and having to leave your home, and it's important to be prepared for both."

At home, you should always have:

  • Enough medicine for at least three days
  • Extra hearing aid batteries
  • Canned food and water for three days
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • A health emergency information card

In case you have to evacuate, you should have a bag packed and ready to go. Keep it in a place near the door where you can grab it and go.

In this bag should be:

  • A three-day supply of your medications
  • Hearing aid batteries
  • Glasses
  • Extra sanitary pads (if needed)
  • Your health emergency information card

The most important thing, Dr. Salamon says, is to create a health emergency information card so you will have all of your important information with you.

This card should include:

  • Your name and address
  • Phone number
  • Birthdate
  • Social security number
  • Health insurance card information
  • Doctors names and phone numbers
  • Emergency contacts (family, friends)
  • Existing medical conditions, including any allergies
  • A list of your medicines (get a copy of your prescriptions from your doctor in case you need emergency refills)
  • The name and number of your pharmacy

Make extra copies and keep one on the refrigerator and one in your "grab it and go" bag. It will make emergencies easier to cope with.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Posted December 2011

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Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare
(Off-site Primary Care Practices)