Nowadays our lives are so dependent on electricity that if a blackout happened, we simply wouldn’t know what to do. A day-long outage might be a minor inconvenience for adults and a major crisis for internet-loving millennials, but it’s a pretty dangerous situation for seniors.
After some time without electricity, the freezer will start defrosting, the building begins to overheat or freeze because the air-conditioner has stopped working, and there’s no way of calling for help with the landline phone. And worst still, without bright lights the chance of the elderly falling at night increases tenfold, but at the same time lighting a candle could risk the whole house burning down. Seniors must prepare themselves for the possibility of a power outage.
What to Do During a Blackout?
There are a couple of important facts that seniors should keep in mind when a storm or accident knocks out the electricity. First of all, they should keep a flashlight or torch in an easily accessible place, like the top drawer in the bedroom. Candles won’t do because if the person holding them loses balance – which is quite possible with an elderly person – something might catch fire.
Electronic appliances should be disconnected so they won’t be damaged after a sudden power surge once the electricity returns. As for the refrigerator or freezer, the best practice here is to keep the doors firmly closed as this will protect the food from rotting for roughly 48 hours. If it’s possible, seniors in the community should stick together to share supplies and food with their less prepared peers.
Another factor to consider is the extreme weather conditions. If the power outage happens during a hot summer, seniors might want to find ways to cool down, perhaps frequently chill in the basement, put wet bandages on their forehead and keep the shades closed until the sun is setting. The loss of electricity is even more dangerous during the winter, especially if elderly residents are using it to power the heater.
Seniors often resort to setting up a generator in order to supplement themselves with backup power. However a generator should never ever be operated inside the home or the garage because such a machine is a health hazard. This was something that Mr and Mrs Sibett were unfortunately unaware of, ultimately leading to their unfortunate demise due to carbon-monoxide poisoning. They powered up the generator in their garage after a storm left their home and millions of others without electricity.
Medical Alert Systems Aren’t Something to Worry About
During a prolonged power outage most of the electrical devices will stop functioning and become useless, except this isn’t a problem for personal emergency response units, which will be a huge relief for independence seeking seniors. Medical alert base stations are fit with a backup battery that keeps the device operational for 36 to 48 hours. If there is cellular reception or the phone lines are undamaged, then the unit will still be able to call for help as long as the battery lasts.
It’s important to mention that the device type determines the capacity of the backup battery. In-home stations last longer than on-the-go or mobile stations, an aspect worth considering for seniors who live in an area where storms or natural disasters can be frequent. Furthermore, the wearable buttons also come with their own power source, guaranteeing peace of mind for years without the need to exchange the battery.
Nationwide Disaster Sabotage Even Medical Alert Systems
Unfortunately, medical alert systems aren’t viable in every disaster situation. The two-day backup energy of the base hub is enough to survive a local outage, but national disasters — such as hurricanes or statewide storms — are known to cause serious complications. When Hurricane Irma slammed Florida, it left so much collateral damage in its wake that even the monitoring stations were crippled due to the loss of power. Although seniors were successfully evacuated, if they decided to stay then they would have been unable to call for help if something happened to them.
In such situations when the services of the whole system fail, there is little to nothing that seniors can do. The best course of action is to follow the steps of their emergency preparedness plan. There’s a lot more to know, but put briefly the prepared should have spare supplies, flashlights, extra batteries and formulate an action plan to avoid hazardous situations.
Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|