With water rising, older residents should exercise caution

Forecasters are predicting several rounds of prolonged rainfall through the weekend across Ohio. Flooding of areas surrounding the Ohio River and its tributaries are expected into next week and could be significant. Small streams and lowland flooding is possible. A line of strong to severe storms may pose a damaging wind threat to the greater Cincinnati area Saturday night.

“Flooding is one type of severe weather we can encounter in our state. Older Ohioans have a deep knowledge of the communities in which they live, and many have experienced flooding in the past. But every flooding event is different, and we want them to be prepared and know how to reach out for help when needed,” says Beverley Laubert, interim director of the Ohio Department of Aging.

Be prepared

Older adults are advised to review their emergency plans and route of evacuation should they need to leave their homes for safety. The Ohio Emergency Management Agency offers several tips:

• Turn Around, Don’t Drown! is critical for all drivers to remember.

• Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.

• Do not drive over bridges that are over fast-moving floodwaters. Floodwaters can scour foundation material from around the footings and make the bridge unstable.

• Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Older adults may have a few additional considerations:

• Instructions for rescue personnel to help relocate safely and quickly in an emergency, such as the need for assistive devices (e.g., cane, walker, oxygen).

• A backup supply of daily medicines and the means to store them properly.

• A safe place to go if it becomes unsafe to stay in your home (e.g., public shelter, friend’s or neighbor’s house) and a plan for getting there. If shelters are set up to assist residents who need to leave their homes, information will be provided.

Check on your neighbor

Ohioans who know older adults are encouraged to check in on them to make sure they have these tips and assistance that they need. Isolation puts people at greater risk for problems during emergencies and working together as a community is especially important.

Find help in your community

The Department of Aging works with the state’s 12 area agencies on aging to make sure that each community has a plan for assisting older adults during weather emergencies. Your area agency can also help you identify resources, such as energy assistance, chore service and minor home repairs that can help you stay warm and safe this winter. Call 866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.

More emergency preparedness advice and resources are available on the department’s website: www.aging.ohio.gov/safeathome