Emergency preparedness for Anchorage seniors

The Salvation Army’s Safe Seniors Disaster Preparedness Program began serving seniors in the Anchorage community in November of 2017. Since its kick-off, the program has served over 300 elders and worked with more than a dozen local senior service providers. This program, run by AmeriCorps members, helps seniors work through the three steps to preparedness: be informed, create a plan and develop a kit.

AmeriCorps is a nationwide organization that partners passionate citizens with non-profits and other community organizations to help meet critical community needs in a handful of focus areas, including disaster relief, economic opportunity, environmental projects, veteran’s services and education.

Participants in the program sit down with an AmeriCorps member and establish a disaster plan tailored to their specific needs. During this 90-minute conversation, seniors can discuss hazards that threaten their neighborhoods, creating a support network and an action plan to follow when disaster strikes. Gathering and storing essential supplies, like water and non-perishable foods, is also addressed. Two books are distributed to each participant, giving them a place to take notes and create a plan. A packet of information on personal disasters, like fall prevention, is also given. Once the conversation on planning for disasters is completed, a disaster supply kit is given with enough supplies to help sustain survival for three days. The program also offers valuable information for preparing pets for disasters and a peek into what evacuating with pets may look like.

If you are 60 or older, or struggling with a disability, you are eligible to complete the program and receive a go-bag at no cost. These meetings can take place in your home, at the senior center or a location that is most convenient to you. AmeriCorps members are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 907-375-3553.

The Safe Seniors Disaster Preparedness Program is also in search of some dedicated volunteers who want to spread their passion for emergency preparedness. Contact us if you are interested.

Joe Mongold is an AmeriCorps member and Disaster Preparedness Coordinator.

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