The Salvation Army Safe Seniors program just kicked-off its second year serving those in need in the Anchorage bowl area. The first year of operation, the program met with close to 350 seniors and people with functional and access needs.
Each participant goes through the three steps to preparedness: 1) Be Informed; 2) Create a Plan; and 3) Get a Kit.
The program provides participants vital information about disasters and emergencies that could happen in Alaska, assists participants in developing an individualized action plan and provides each participant a 72-hour disaster supply kit. This kit includes emergency water and food rations, a folding cane, pill case, flashlight, dust mask, whistle and a “Help Me” sign, which all comes in a neat red bag that is easy to pick up and go!
“We’ve worked with interpreters to conduct meetings in Spanish, Somali, Arabic and American Sign Language,” said Maddie Kettner, the program manager. “We have also presented at senior centers, independent living complexes and private residences to make our services accessible to those with the most need.”
When former program participants were asked how they were impacted, they said things like, “Excellent and thought-provoking. I am much better prepared and able to keep preparing my family. Many thanks,” and “Helpful. Makes you think about what is important.” 93% of senior participants said they feel more prepared for disasters after meeting with The Salvation Army Safe Seniors program.
In early December 2018, members had the pleasure and challenging task of reconnecting with all program participants to make sure folks were faring well after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on November 30. Many seniors said they had used the items from their disaster preparedness kit, especially those who lost power.
In addition to individual disaster preparedness meetings, members will soon be hosting classes for seniors who are interested in learning more in depth knowledge about how to stay safe and respond to disasters. Topics for classes will include Winter Car Safety, Sheltering During a Disaster, Food Storage and Preparation, Pets & Disasters, and more! Follow us on Facebook @SafeSeniorsAK for updates.
The Salvation Army Safe Seniors program is free to participants, but eligibility for the program varies. If you or a loved one identifies in any of the following ways: 60 years of age or older, mobility issues or disability, lack of support network, inability to leave the home independently or significant barrier to conduct disaster preparedness activities on one’s own, please contact us to set up a disaster preparedness meeting at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 375-3553.
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