Senior Citizens are encouraged to prepare for Emergencies such as severe winter weather this time of year.
The Town of Lexington Health Division and the Human Services Department join the Massachusetts Department of Public Health “Together We’re Ready” Campaign to Encourage Senior Citizens, Individuals and Families to Plan Ahead for various Emergencies. “Emergencies can happen at any time as evident by recent weather related events, such as the record breaking snowfall in Buffalo New York. Taking a few simple steps now to prepare yourself and your family will help Lexington recover more quickly and lessen the impact to your normal schedule. Every step that we take to prepare ourselves and our families for emergencies makes Lexington stronger and more resilient when the unexpected happens,” said Gerard F. Cody, Health Director for the Town of Lexington. “Now’s the time to be informed, plan ahead, and get prepared.”
Senior Citizens should consider these steps to better prepare for an emergency:
PREPARE A KIT OF EMERGENCY SUPPLIES FOR YOUR HOME
While there are many things that might make you more comfortable, think first about fresh water, food and your specific medical supplies. For example, if you use eyeglass or hearing aids, be sure you always have extra supplies in your kit. Also have copies of your medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards readily available. If you have a service animal, be sure to include food, water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other emergency pet supplies.
Medications and Medical Supplies: If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need on hand to remain independent for at least a week and keep a copy of your prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information. If it is not possible to have a week-long supply of medicines and supplies, keep as much as possible on hand and talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what else you should do to prepare. If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within your area.
Emergency Documents: Include copies of important documents in your emergency supply kits such as family records, medical records, wills, deeds, social security number, charge and bank accounts information and tax records. It is best to keep these documents in a waterproof container. If there is any information related to operating equipment or life-saving devices that you rely on, include those in your emergency kit as well. If you have a communication disability, make sure your emergency information list notes the best way to communicate with you. Also be sure you have cash or travelers checks in your kits in case you need to purchase supplies.
MAKE A PLAN FOR WHAT YOU WILL DO IN AN EMERGENCY
Develop a Family Emergency Plan: Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so plan how you will contact one another and review what you will do in different situations. Consider a plan where each family member calls, or e-mails, the same friend or relative in the event of an emergency
Create a Personal Support Network: If you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, ask family, friends and others to be part of your plan. Share each aspect of your emergency plan with everyone in your group, including a friend or relative in another area who would not be impacted by the same emergency who can help if necessary. Include the names and numbers of everyone in your personal support network, as well as your medical providers in your emergency supply kit. If you use a wheelchair or other medical equipment, show friends how to use these devices so they can move you if necessary and teach them how to use any lifesaving equipment or administer medicine in case of an emergency. Practice your plan with those who have agreed to be part of your personal support network.
Consider Your Pets: Whether you decide to stay in your home or go to another home, hotel or shelter, you will need to make plans in advance for your service animal and pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals. If you choose to leave your home, take your pets with you or make other arrangements to keep them safe.
BE INFORMED ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN
Watch television and listen to the radio for official instructions as they become available. For specific news in Lexington, sign up for Code Red® Emergency Notification System. Code Red is utilized by the Town of Lexington to notify residents and businesses by quickly providing information, instructions and updates on an emerging threat or emergency situation. It is a high speed telephone and text messaging system that uses a combination of published white page listings. Residents and business owners can help ensure a better response by logging on to the Town of Lexington Code Red website, (http://lexingtonma.gov/police/codered.cfm) to add preferred mobile phone numbers, text numbers or email addresses. If you do not have a traditional land line phone service, you can still participate in the Code Red Emergency Notification System but you must log onto the website to add your mobile phone number or email address.
The “Together We’re Ready – Massachusetts Prepared” campaign features online videos and resources developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Check out the “Together We’re Ready” web page at www.mass.gov/dph/ready where you can find more information about individual and family preparedness, volunteer opportunities, emergency planning for the whole community and tips for flu prevention.
For a free “Emergency Medical Info Kit”, please visit the Office of Community Development, Health Division in the Town Office Building at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue. If you have any questions concerning this matter, you may contact Gerard F. Cody, REHS/RS at (781) 698-4522 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WINTER DRIVING CAN BE CHALLENGING, EVEN FOR THE MOST EXPERIENCED DRIVERS
Here are some tips from MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles Division.
THINK TWICE IF THERE’S SNOW OR ICE
Listen to traffic and weather reports. Use the news as a guide – when school is cancelled, consider staying home. This allows plows the time and space needed to treat and clear roads of any snow or ice.
PREPARE YOUR CAR FOR WINTER
- Before driving in winter weather, there are several things you should do to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you.
- Take extra time to remove ice and snow from your vehicle. Clear all windows, windshield wipers, headlights, and brake lights, forward sensors, and back-up camera.
- Clear the roof of your car so ice and snow does not blow into vehicles behind you.
- Keep windshield washer fluid reservoir filled with winter fluid that won’t freeze and keep extra winter fluid in your car.
- Equip your car with winter wipers
- Be sure the exhaust pipe is clear of packed snow before starting engine. Cold temperatures affect tires. Check tire pressure with a portable tire gauge, to make sure pressure is equal to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. The manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure is listed in the owner’s manual as well as on the driver’s side door frame of rear edge of the driver’s door.
KEEP THE FOLLOWING ITEMS IN YOUR VEHICLE:
Fully-charged mobile phone; mobile phone car charger; ice scraper; blanket; flashlight; energy bars; water; small shovel; play sand or non-clumping kitty litter. Spread play sand or kitty litter on snow directly in front of and behind tires to create traction for tires that are stuck in snow.
WINTER DRIVING TIPS
- Motor vehicles perform very differently on ice and snow than on warm, dry pavement. Keep speeds down. Tires have less traction on cold, slick surfaces.
- Delay driving until snow plows have had time to treat roads and remove snow. If you must go out when it is snowing, start slowly and if it is safe to do so, test your brakes by gently tapping them to see how much traction your tires have.
- Drive carefully and accelerate slowly.
- Leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicles in front of you. More space is required to stop safely on slippery surfaces.
- Never lock your brakes on icy roads. You will lose steering control. If you skid, remember to turn into the direction of the skid until vehicle straightens out.
- Drive with headlights on to help you see and be seen.
- Intersections can be dangerous, even more so in the winter. Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished” and slick. Make turns slowly and gradually. Gently brake and slow the vehicle before a curve, not while you are in it.
- Give active snow plows plenty of space, leaving at least 5 car lengths between you and the snow plow. Don’t drive beside a snow plow . According to NHTSA, the road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use extreme caution when passing.
HANDLING A SKIDDING VEHICLE
- Handle the skid the same for front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles.
- Fast acceleration can make wheels spin on ice and snow. Locking brakes on icy roads causes the driver to lose steering control. If you skid, stay calm and remove your foot off the gas pedal.
- Do not hit the brakes – this will make the skid worse.
- Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid. If your rear tires are skidding to the left, turn your steering wheel left. If they are sliding right, steer right.
- You may need to steer left and right a few times until you get your car completely under control.
More detailed information can be found in the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual at MASSRMV.COM as well as at NHTSA.GOV.