For Seniors

By Emergency Management Ontario

An emergency situation or an evacuation can be a frightening and confusing time. It is important that seniors be educated about the potential for emergencies, the steps they can take to be prepared for an emergency, the programs in place to help manage emergencies, and the services that are available to help them get through the emergency, and return to their regular routine.

The Emergency Survival Kit fact sheet outlines the basic items every individual should keep in an easy-to-reach place.

Emergency Survival Kits for Seniors

In addition to their basic Emergency Survival Kits, it is essential that senior citizens being evacuated during emergencies take with them any other equipment or devices they may need immediately.

Those items may include:

  • assistive devices such as such as canes, walkers, hearing aids, breathing apparatus, etc.
  • prescription eyewear and footwear
  • extra medications and vitamin supplements
  • copies of prescriptions
  • extra dentures (if required) and cleaner
  • personal papers, identification; and
  • list of names and telephone numbers (such as family members, doctor, case worker, seniors group contact person, etc.).

Seniors in high-rise buildings

High-rise buildings present unique challenges when evacuating. Residents should make themselves aware of:

  • all escape routes and location of emergency doors/exits on each floor
  • location of emergency buttons. Many seniors buildings have, strategically located in bedrooms and washrooms, emergency buttons which have a direct link to 911 or the building's superintendent.
  • the building's evacuation plan
  • the building superintendent's phone number
  • who conducts evacuation drills, and how often
  • who sits on the Building Safety Committee
  • who are the floor monitors in the event of an emergency
  • the names and phone numbers of on-site doctors, social workers and the hours they keep (if applicable). These people will likely be on call at various times throughout the week and will usually have an office in the building.

High-rise building managers can help those senior residents who may have difficulty evacuating on their own due to a physical impairment or disability, by:

  • maintaining an up-to-date list of names and addresses of all seniors in the building, noting the special needs and requirements of each, and copying that list to superintendents.
  • making available large printed signs for those requiring assistance to place in their window in the event of an emergency, indicating that they require assistance.