Joan’s Journey: Lightning Strikes, Journey Jolted!

Joan’s Journey is temporarily interrupted by a severe lightning storm. Read her tips on surviving a natural disaster and how it has reaffirmed her decision to make the move to senior housing.

In this Post-911 Era, we can’t hide from natural and man-made disasters, but in some cases we can prepare. That’s what I have learned from my earthquake, hail, hurricane, flood and lightning experiences of 2011-2012.

Recently, more than 6 million folks on the Mid-Atlantic Coast were without power for several days to more than a week during one of the hottest weather events in history. While I “suffered” from the heat, others had more serious issues, perhaps needing power for medical devices or cool storage of medicine.

Disasters can and do happen. Here’s what I learned:

Immediate Action Plan

1. Be prepared. We never think disaster will happen to us, but it can and may. Keep flashlights, water, handheld can openers, water, food, extra medicine and supplies at easy reach. Keep your cell phone charged and within easy reach. Land-line phones do not function when power goes out.
2. Have an escape plan. I had a flashlight near my bed and an exit if I could reach the building front door. But what about my cat hiding under the bed? I now have a “buddy” plan with a neighbor living in my building. We will check with each other by cell phone in questionable situations like the storm.

Short-Term Action Plan

1. Continue to identify senior housing.
2. Inquire if the senior community has a disaster plan. If yes, what is it? Are the residents aware of the plan? Are there escape drills?
3. Determine the back-up plan should a natural disaster occur and evacuation become necessary. In Baltimore, some senior residences have auxiliary power systems. Other senior communities move residents to hotels. Who pays this expense? What if no hotels are available?

Long-Term Action Plan

1. Identify and move to a safe, secure senior housing community, where the concern for physical safety is shared by others who are on site to help.

Have you experienced a natural disaster? How did you handle it? What did you learn for it? Please share your experience with Joan’s Journey and

This entry was written by Joan London. You can read more about her recent disaster survival experience in the latest installment of her blog, Joan’s Journey: Part 7.

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