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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Our Voices – Emergency? Plan, don’t panic!

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September is National Preparedness Month and what better time to ask yourself, “How prepared am I for an emergency situation?”

Seniors face more challenges in emergency situations because of hearing, vision, or mobility issues, and they may live alone. Emergency situations can be natural disasters (severe weather), medical emergencies (heart attacks, falls), and household emergencies (house fires etc). You can minimize panic if you plan ahead.

Division Chief Scott Salela, Naperville Fire Department, says being prepared is essential when faced with an emergency as a senior citizen.

“Taking advantage of all the programs that Naperville offers through the Park District, police, and fire departments,” could make all the difference when faced with an emergency, Salela says.

For example, the City of Naperville offers a Caring Hands program, which allows residents to voluntarily provide Naperville’s first responders with critical information about themselves or loved ones with developmental, cognitive, mental, medical and/or physical disabilities who may require special assistance during an emergency. Forms can be found at www.naperville.il.us/services.

Naperville Fire Department offers free Senior Home Fire Safety Surveys where senior citizens can receive in-home safety and security information as well as fire and fall prevention tips. More information can be found at www.naperville.il.us/services.

It is also helpful to know CPR if you’re a senior. Together with the Naperville Senior Task Force, the Naperville Fire Department offers Silver CPR, a basic CPR course for seniors free of charge. You can register for the next Silver CPR (Sept 21) by emailing silverCPR2023@gmail.com.

Salela said Naperville Fire Department also partners with Community Connect to provide residents a free, secure and simple way to provide critical information about their households to first responders. More information can be found at www.naperville.il.us/services.

What if you are in a situation that is not an emergency, but you need help? Community Advocate Response Team (CART) is available for individuals from 7AM to 5PM Tuesday through Friday. It is a non-emergency vehicle that responds to situations such as falls, etc. Clearly indicate that you are not having an emergency, but are requesting assistance when you contact the Naperville Fire Department.

Planning for emergencies is key. Create an emergency support network of one or two people who can stay in contact with you, plan for care of pets, keep medications accessible, prepare an emergency supply kit, and always have non-perishable foods available.

Carpe Diem!

The next Memory Café is September 12.

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Arlene Orr
Arlene Orr
Arlene Orr is a Naperville resident and member of the Naperville Senior Task Force.
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