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Willapa Harbor Herald
Lewis County News
Traveler's Companion
(360) 942-3466 • PO Box 706, Raymond, WA 98577

Are You Ready for the Windy, Rainy Winter?

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Sometimes it seems that our normal weather creates a lot of havoc inland, where gusts hit a lot more homes, power lines and so on. Still, we get our share of power outages, wind damage and other exciting dynamics. Life on the coast..

Many folks in our communities have either left family to retire here, or stayed here while family went elsewhere looking for work school, whatever. The result is quite a few elders who are here without family support..and who are watching the winds.

A little prep work--just in case--can go a long way so in the event we do have some emergency situations, we don't scramble to start from square one. In light of this, I want to recommend a pamphlet available through the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) : Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors. It looks at things like sheltering in place, what to do in case of fires, medical emergencies, etc. Who knows better what elders need than other elders? "Experts" are one thing, but someone who walks in your shoes is another, yes?

For a quick reference, here are five points to consider and/or plans to make:

  • First Aid Kit

Rather than a generic kit (though better than none), consider adding a list of your current prescriptions and medical information (allergies, insurance cards, etc). Do you wear glasses? If you have an extra pair, toss them in. The same goes for extra batteries for hearing aids and so on.

  • Emergency Lighting

Plug-in flashlights that charge themselves when the power's on are a good idea. There are also various types of inexpensive battery powered stick-up lights available--remember to periodically check the batteries. Also, small penlight flashlights fit easily in your car, purse, or on your nightstand.

  • Bedside Items

Another good place for a flashlight. Also, consider a good pair of shoes in case you have to stumble around a bit in the dark. Slippers are comfortable, but not very sturdy, and in case of emergency you don't want to spend time trying to find your shoes.

  • Emergency Contacts

It's great to have friends for 50 years. They may even be noted somewhere as your emergency contact; but are they able to get about independently and safely? Or do they, too, need emergency contacts that may be able to check on them?

One more thing: It's great to have a cordless phone so you can keep it near you. However, as you may have discovered, if the power's out, so is the phone. The old land-line phones usually work when the power's out, so dig them out of the closet, find a phone jack and you're set. If you have a cell phone, good, but it still needs charging, so..

Also, technology is great. The various equipment that allows us to remain home, such as oxygen condensers and nebulizers are quite often literally, life-savers. And much easier to manage than those old heavy tanks. Again, think power--or the lack thereof. Given oxygen tanks may not be decorative, but they will provide oxygen available regardless of electricity.

For more information and resources, contact your local Red Cross, or the county emergency services (642-9340 or 875-9340). And remember your fire department: If you have no power, they have generators and may be able to assist with nebulizer treatments and oxygen bottle refills.

Is that it? Hardly, but hopefully this can be a starting point..for all of us. Enjoy the coast--and be prepared.

Information & Assistance: Long Beach: 642-3634, 888-571-6558; Raymond: 942-2177, 888-571-6557; www.o3a.org

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