|AEP, Council on Aging gives tips for storm aftermath|
|Wednesday, June 12, 2013 11:32 PM|
AEP Ohio, a unit of American Electric Power, constantly has its eyes on the weather. The company’s internal meteorologists were monitoring the approaching storm that was expected to hit Ohio Wednesday evening.
AEP meteorologists agreed there was potential for the front to produce a squall line that could affect much of the AEP Ohio’s service territory, as well as neighboring states. This squall line was expected to produce severe weather accompanied by high winds gusting above 60 miles per hour, potentially causing widespread power outages in affected areas.
AEP Ohio crews were prepared to respond throughout the company’s service territory and the company is identifying the availability of additional resources.
What to do during a power outage:
• Unplug major appliances to protect them from a power surge when power comes back on.
• Leave a light turned on so you know when power is restored.
• Refuel heaters, lamps and generators outside and stay away from any flames or sparks. Wipe up fuel spills immediately.
• Contact AEP if using a generator — this protects the homeowner and AEP line workers as they work to restore power. Be safe with backup generators.
• Never operate lanterns, heaters, or fuel-fired stoves without proper ventilation.
• Never burn charcoal indoors. It releases poisonous carbon monoxide.
• Avoid downed power lines or sparking equipment.
• Never remove debris that’s within 10 feet of a power line.
• Prevent children from carrying candles or oil lamps.
Helping the elderly after severe weather conditions
Ohio Department of Aging
As severe conditions approach and after they have passed, please check on your friends, family and neighbors in your community to ensure they have power, food, water, medicines and necessary supplies to stay safe and healthy until things return to normal. Also, staying cool will be a big concern, as older adults can be more susceptible to heat-related illnesses.
Older adults, people with disabilities and their families can call 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to their local area agency on aging’s resources and programs that can provide help in their communities.
When severe weather hits the community, please check on older neighbors, friends and relatives to make sure they have the resources they need to stay safe and healthy until conditions return to normal.
—Always treat adults as adults. If someone isn’t making sense, don’t assume it’s dementia. Dehydration, stress, and fatigue have similar symptoms.
— Use a natural tone of voice and conversational style of communication. Be calm and reassuring, speak slowly and distinctly, and make eye contact. Use positive language: Instead of “Don’t …” suggest what they should do.
— Ask open-ended questions. Instead of “Are you staying warm/cool?” ask “What are you doing to stay warm/cool today?” “Where will you go if the power does not come back on tomorrow?”
— Don’t ask “testing” or “challenging” questions. Instead of “Do you know your name?” ask “What would you like me to call you?” Instead of “Do you know where you are?” say “I’m glad that I came to visit you at your home today.”
— Don’t correct an adult who appears to be confused. For example, if the person calls you by someone else’s name, say “I haven’t seen ‘Joe’ lately but my name is … and I’ll stay with you until your family comes by” or “I’ll call someone so ‘Joe’ will know where you are.” Avoid arguing, but validate feelings.
Do a risk assessment
While visiting, observe his or her surroundings and ask questions that will help you determine if this person is healthy and safe, or if he or she may need some assistance.
— Does the person depend on oxygen?
— Does he or she need help walking?
— Does he or she need help getting to the bathroom?
— Does he or she have skin that is greyish? (If so, he or she may require medical attention.
Also check if individuals have what they will need for the next several days, including water, non-perishable food, temperature control and medications. Refrigerated food should be thrown out after two hours without electricity. Also, some medications may need to be refrigerated or stored on ice to remain safe and effective.
Make sure they can get help
Make sure the person is able to call for help if he or she needs it. Don’t assume the person’s phone is working: check the connection and battery charge. Some may not realize that cordless phones need electricity to work and/or charge. Instead of asking, “Do you have someone to call if you need help?” say, “Show me how you would call your daughter if you need her to come help,” will be more effective.