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Help Your Neighbor

Weather.gov explains that many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes.

We have several neighbors that are elderly and although they are fully capable of taking care of themselves, we enjoy our talks with them and checking in to see if they need anything, so to call on them before and after a hurricane is a just a neighborly thing for us to do.

However, some neighbors may not think about the other. They may believe that the woman next door has relatives because of the cars that come and go. If you knew a little bit more about your neighbor you may find out that it was only a worker from meals on wheels or a physical therapist there for a session.

Ready.gov/seniors is a great resource to take a look at as it helps them with creating their own plans. 3 items it discusses are Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed.

Another resource by Indian River County is The Disaster Preparedness Guide is full of important useful information to help you and your family.

There is a section that shows exactly where the shelters are located. It also helps to know the difference between them.

The regular shelter would accept anyone who is self-sufficient and needs no other help performing daily activities. They also would accept anyone with decreased mobility but no other medical issues.

Appropriate health care facility is available if you have medical issues that the regular shelter is unable to help you with, but are not qualified for the special needs shelter.

Special needs shelter assists those with medical problems that involve special equipment and conditions that a regular shelter is unable to assist with.

There are certain requirements such as but not limited to Dialysis, Oxygen dependent, Nebulizer and Hospice patients. It’s best to discuss the issues prior to needing them and pre-registration is required. Transportation is also available, however, it is suggested you contact the shelter prior to a weather event, as it’s not guaranteed if you haven’t made prior arrangements.

The special needs shelter is located in Sebastian at the Treasure Coast Elementary School and it is the only one for Indian River County.

Help your neighbor should they need assistance filling out the special needs registration form. It can be quite scary and emotional for them.

A very important note to anyone who is unable to take care of themselves during an emergency and their doctor states that they need to go into a nursing facility or hospital. According to Indian River County Emergency Management office, “Their doctor must arrange pre-admittance with a specific facility prior to evacuation. You must have a copy of the pre-admission letter from your doctor that you are to be taken to a specific hospital or nursing home and arrangements have been made with the facility for admittance. This letter must accompany you when you are evacuated.

Many times an elderly person doesn’t want to leave their home for several reasons;

     • Fear of the unknown, at least they feel a bit safer while in their own home

     • Having never had to leave before, so they will just ride it out

     • Don’t want to leave their pets or belongings

     • Don’t want to be a burden on anyone

     • They have conditions that make it hard to leave the home

If they refuse to leave and the town isn’t under a mandatory evacuation order then all the other things you would do for yourself would apply. Start the conversation now with these Neighbor Helping Neighbor strategies;

     • You could ask if you could pick up anything for them or their pets while you are out shopping.

     • When you are purchasing water, grab a couple extra for the neighbor.

     • Giving an extra walkie talkie is a great way to keep in touch when the power goes out.

     • Ask if you could switch keys, so each of you has a set.

     • Ask if they have a list of medications, Doctor’s phone numbers, and emergency relative contact phone number in a place that would be easy to find.

     • Have them set aside a couple outfits, in case an evacuation becomes mandatory.

     • Do the same preparation, such as gather up any extra outdoor items and store in their garage or home, but be sure it doesn’t cause a hazard for them.

We may want to assist our neighbor, nevertheless remember that we are not there to take over for them on things that they can do for themselves.