For Immediate Release
Contact: Phil Ulibarri
775.328.2414 or 775.772.1659
The coming winter solstice and the onset of cold weather prompts health officials to remind everyone that harsh winter conditions can dramatically increase the day-to-day survival challenges for elderly Americans and those with physical, medical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. The Washoe County Health District Public Health Preparedness Program says that now is the time to take a few easy steps to prepare for emergencies.
Officials urge seniors and people with disabilities to:
- Make prior arrangements with your physician or check with your oxygen supplier about emergency plans for those on respirators or other electric powered medical equipment.
- Inform your local power company if you use medical equipment that uses electricity and plan now to have electrical backup. NV Energy can be reached at (775) 834-4444.
- Develop a communications plan in case land-lines fail by having a charged cell phone or a pager.
- Maintain a two-week supply of medications, both prescription and non-prescription.
- Have copies of your medical records, prescriptions and medical needs readily available.
- Plan now to have accessible transportation in case of evacuation.
- Have contact lenses, extra eyeglasses and batteries for hearing aids ready to go.
- Include your service animals and pets in your plans.
- Think ahead about neighborhood shelters that can accommodate the needs of seniors and the disabled.
Preparation for severe winter weather including snow, subfreezing temperatures, strong winds, ice or even heavy rain requires planning ahead. People with special needs should stay in touch with nearby-friends and relatives before storms or record cold fronts move in. It’s important for neighbors, care attendants, and coworkers to be part of your care and communications circle. Never depend on one person alone. Concerned friends and neighbors are also reminded that homebound seniors can get meals and other services as well by calling Washoe County Senior Services at (775) 328-2575.
The Health District recommends keeping an emergency supply kit on hand that at a minimum includes:
- A battery or hand crank powered radio, flashlights and batteries, and a 3-day supply of food and water.
- Adequate clothing and blankets for warmth.
- First Aid Supplies.
Finally, it’s important to understand the terms of declining weather and pending winter storms.
- A winter weather advisory means that cold, ice and snow are expected.
- A winter storm watch means severe weather, heavy snow or ice is possible within a day or two.
- A winter storm warning means that severe winter conditions have begun or will begin very soon.
Remember that planning ahead, assembling an emergency supply kit, staying informed, and keeping those in your circle informed about you are the best ways to stay safe through the uncertain days of winter.