In the last few weeks we’ve seen a lot of suffering from unprecedented flooding and hardship in Texas and Florida. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have not only devastated homes, but have taken away a sense of predictability and safety. We are now watching Hurricanes Jose and Maria make their way to landfall and are reminded again of the importance of getting our families and homes prepared for severe weather.
Suffolk County is home to a large population of senior citizens. We must take the lessons we’ve learned from our own experience with Superstorm Sandy to plan specifically and strategically for our older residents who may have special needs. While typical preparedness focuses on access to water and food, elderly populations need to also plan around medications, batteries for electronic medical devices, and the how the loss of basic services such as water, gas, electricity, and communication could potentially impact their health. They must prepare for the possibility of being evacuated or confined to their homes differently than the average citizen.
Information is key to ensure that residents are prepared and equipped to get through an unpredictable storm as safely as possible. I encourage everyone to take the time to evaluate their preparedness. Below are a few tips:
Planning for seniors during storms, in many cases, requires the involvement of the whole family and other caretakers. I want to ensure every family is fully prepared and is aware of available resources during a hurricane or other natural disaster. For a comprehensive list of resources and important numbers, please go to Suffolkcountyny.gov and visit the Office of Emergency Management page. Let’s always keep our neighbors in mind and, when possible, look out for each other.
William R. Spencer, M.D.
Suffolk County Legislator
18th Legislative District