Preparing for the Big One

Whether "The Big One" is an earthquake, pandemic flu, a broken leg, the death of a loved one, or another event that shakes your world, there are ways to ensure that you get the resources and support you need. The August issue of AgeWise King County takes a look at some of the factors you should consider—community connections, home safety, personal preparedness, personal communications and technology.

In early June, the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services had the opportunity to hear Kent Fire Battalion Chief Mitch Snyder and Incident Prevention Coordinator Tami Kapule describe FDCARES, a program they developed to connect residents who frequently use 911 services for medical care and/or non-emergencies with community health and human service providers. FDCARES provides a mechanism for fire fighters and medics to ensure that residents get the support they need, helping to reduce pain and suffering. It also increases the availability of emergency responders when fires and life-threatening situations do occur. Read "Fire Department Connects Residents to Health Care and Human Services" in this issue, and, if you don't live in Kent, consider asking your fire department if they use the FDCARES model.

Longtime emergency preparedness educator JoAnn Jordan, from the City of Seattle's Office of Emergency Management, offers checklists of ways that you can have a plan, build a kit, and help family, friends, and neighbors become Disaster Ready in "Disaster Ready … What Does That Mean?" JoAnn's main point is a good one: You've got to start somewhere—pick a task and do it!

ADS planner Irene Stewart's article on computer and smartphone apps for emergency preparedness offers food for thought: How will you communicate with your loved ones if there is a disaster? Perhaps technology can help. Read "Who Can You Count On in an Emergency and Who Can Count on You?" to learn more.

Do you remember how stressed everyone felt when we experienced the Nisqually Earthquake, 9/11, and the U.S. going to war? If current events make you worry about the present or the future, a new national support hotline is available to help. Read "Disaster Distress Support Available Year-Round" to learn more.

In "Helping Others and Asking for Help When You Need It," Judy Pigott discusses the personal benefits you can gain from helping others and learning how to ask others for help. Personal Safety Nets help people prepare for the inevitable—change—by teaching them how to build their own safety net.

On a very personal level, preparedness may mean retaining or rebuilding strength and balance to avoid falling. The statistics on falls in King County are startling. Many are preventable, with the right preparation. Read "Improve Strength, Balance and Fitness to Reduce Chance of Falling."

Check out our article about the expansion of Hyde Shuttle service, a free service for residents age 55+ and for people with disabilities. "Hyde Shuttle Service Begins in Federal Way, SeaTac and Tukwila" offers good news for southend residents and serves as a reminder to residents of other suburban cities and many Seattle neighborhoods that this great service is available. But they need volunteer drivers—perhaps you or someone you know would be interested in getting involved?

The Mayor's Council on African American Elders' upcoming legislative forum is an opportunity for you to interact with elected officials, candidates, and policy makers on issues that are important to you and the community. As a reminder, this year's Primary Election is Tuesday, August 7. The General Election is Tuesday, November 6. You must be registered to vote at least eight days in advance. For more information, visit King County Records and Elections.

Get moving, stay connected, be prepared, and make a difference!

—Diane Snell, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council for Aging and Disability Services