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4 storm safety tips for seniors

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer is here, which means that thunderstorms and even hurricanes may not be far off, depending on where your facility is located in the U.S. These kinds of severe weather events can significantly impact the safety and satisfaction of your residents, so it's important to know how to address these concerns before they become issues. 

Storm safety tips for seniors Unlike commercial facilities, senior living communities are filled with residents - staff members and older adults who are there 24 hours a day - so this should be taken into account when putting a safety plan together. Here are a few ways to keep your building and your residents safe in the event of a storm. 

1. Keep windows closed

Fortunately, the inside of a building is one of the safest places you can be in a lightning storm. However, that doesn't mean that lightning has no way of getting inside. Open doors and windows can both let harmful bolts of electricity through, endangering anyone who's sitting by the open portal. Thunder and lightning always go hand-in-hand, so as soon as you hear the first distant rumblings indicating a storm is on the way, you should begin closing all the windows and doors at your facility. 

2. Stay off the phones

Many residents may use telephones to keep in contact with their families and loved ones. Unfortunately, telephones are an absolute  no-no during a lightning storm. In fact, any device that is wired into the building's electrical system can be a literal conduit for lightning to enter the building. Ensure your residents are aware of the danger using corded phones can pose, and institute a firm no phones policy during thunderstorms. On a positive note, any cordless, wireless or battery-operated devices are perfectly safe for use, which means your residents can still use their cellphones and laptops to keep in touch and give their family members safety updates.

3. Stock up

Severe wind and lightning can topple trees or even whole power lines, leaving some facilities without electricity for extended periods of time. This can be disastrous in a facility where you're responsible for the well-being of hundreds of residents. Food spoiling is one of the main dangers associated with power outages, so head the problem off by building up an emergency supply of nonperishable food in the event your facility loses refrigeration. Keep in mind that even without electricity, gas stoves can still be used to cook food. Additionally, while not a permanent solution, packing your freezer with bags of ice can help increase the length of time food will keep. 

4. Communicate

During a storm, local authorities have everyone's safety in mind but may be busy responding to all the emergency calls. Make sure you keep a line of communication open so that fire, police and ambulance services are aware of your needs, especially if there is an emergency with one of your residents. These services can also provide crucial information, such as evacuation routes and timetables, so you should be constantly plugged in if possible. 

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