As Floridians, we know hurricanes are massive storms marked by a rapidly rotating storm system with extremely strong winds. They contain a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rains and coastal storm surges. Sometimes, they’re as big as our state.
With so much potential for danger, including falling trees and flying debris, it’s critically important to be prepared before a hurricane hits your area. What we have learned from the impact of these storms in Florida, however, is it is equally important to be prepared for the aftermath of a hurricane. This is particularly critical for seniors who are often more vulnerable than younger, more able-bodied people.
Click here to download our resource guide on this important topic and continue reading for tips for seniors after a hurricane passes.
If the power is out, as is often the case after a hurricane for tens or hundreds of thousands of people, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are a few tips:
- Turn off or unplug all major appliances. They could be damaged by an electrical surge when power is restored.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Be careful when using a gas-powered generator. Make sure it is set up outside and only refuel it when it is cooled off.
- Ensure you have enough medicine for a storm and that it is properly stored. Be careful using medicine you suspect is at risk.
If you left your home or were forced to evacuate, and are returning, it’s recommended to explore for damage using a flashlight or battery-operated lantern. Do not use candles or light a match as there’s initially no way of knowing what type of damage may have occurred, like a ruptured gas line.
After checking for damage and shutting off any damaged items, check in with your neighbors, your agent under your Florida durable power of attorney, and personal contacts to let them know you are home. Tell them what you learned as a result of your damage check. Be prepared to ask for help if need be.
It’s also a good idea to alert others of any friends or neighbors who are elderly, especially those with disabilities, so that precautions are taken to make sure they are healthy. Check in and make sure both the utility company and emergency services departments know about seniors in your neighborhood as well. It’s also important to stay inside and away from downed power lines and flooded roads if possible.
Be aware of bad-faith financial scams in the aftermath of a hurricane. Unscrupulous people may try to take advantage of elderly people at a time when they’re stressed and unsure. If you feel like you’re being pressured to give out your personal information or credit card information by someone who doesn’t meet the smell test, do not give in and call the proper authorities.
If you have questions on this or any elder law related issue, we are here to help you! Do not wait to contact us for help.