In Case of Emergency Please Call…

By: Mr. Katz

In the wake of recent events in New Orleans, monsoon floods in Arizona, and the tragedies of September 11, we have been overwhelmed with the number of calls regarding safety in the home and disaster preparedness for our seniors. What information needs to be put together, how do we put it together, and how do we communicate our wishes to our families? What constitutes a disaster plan, where do we keep the information, and how do we access this material in case of an emergency?

First and foremost, no matter what the disaster, know that the outcome is in the Lord’s hands (Is 27:5 “Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me.”). To be prepared in the face of adversity is a simple task that just takes a little planning. First, we advise all of our clients to make sure they have a living will and powers of attorney (medical-at the very least). In Texas these forms can be completed and registered at San Antonio Advance Directive Registry. Healthcare professionals can access this database to understand what your wishes are and how best to execute them.

Second, we have all of our clients keep a list of medication that they are currently taking easily accessible. It is best if you compile a list with the name of the medication, dose, frequency of taking the medication, and doctor’s name and telephone number who has prescribed the medication. Also, keep the name, telephone number, and address of the pharmacy where you get your medications. Also, write down all of your medical diagnoses, allergies to medication and food, and emergency numbers of family or friends on the back of this form (keep only one or two names and numbers). Let those you have listed know they are on your emergency call list, as well as give them copies of your Advance Directives. Place this information in a sealable storage bag and tape it the refrigerator.

Now that medical information is set aside, do you have a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and an emergency exit plan in case of fire? When is the last time you checked the batteries in your smoke detector? Do you have a good flashlight with spare batteries?

A lot of the displaced families from the recent hurricane in New Orleans had or are having a difficult time accessing the personal funds from banks. Put together a list of accounts, account numbers, and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and keep these in a safety deposit box or mail them to a trusted family member out of state for safekeeping. The power may go out, but financial institutions still operate.

With a little planning, forethought, and discussion, a good number of tragedies can be minimized or even avoided. And please keep praying for those who are continuing their battle after these tragic events.