HELP US HELP YOU: There is now an SES mobile app available in case of emergency, but remember to do what you can to help yourself.
HELP US HELP YOU: There is now an SES mobile app available in case of emergency, but remember to do what you can to help yourself. PHOTO: QFES

An emergency plan could save your life

THERE'S no doubt after the bad weather and devastating bushfires of recent weeks that this is not just the season to be merry.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services is encouraging Seniors to make sure they are informed and prepared for storm, flood and fire situations.

Local South Western Region QFES community and engagement officer Tracey Brown said it was important for Seniors to "help us help you".

"The more they prepare themselves, their families and their homes for disasters the better we can support them and the community in recovery efforts," she said.

That includes keeping the SES phone number, 132 500, handy for easy access on your fridge, in your phone, or using the new SES app, tuning to local ABC radio for emergency broadcasts, and obviously calling 000 in the case of an emergency.

It also means listening to warnings and evacuating when told to, and staying out of flood waters.

"Don't put your life or the lives of our emergency responders in danger for no reason," Tracey said.

She also warned Seniors to make an emergency plan.

Many people, she said, thought that if it was just themselves they didn't need a plan or, since they had survived disaster situations in the past, they would be okay again.

However, she pointed out you may not be as fit, fast and able to react as you were.

Where you stayed and fought for your home 10 or 20 years ago, you may now need to plan to evacuate to friends or family.

She also encouraged people to keep their phones on, both to receive official emergency warnings and in case people are trying to contact you.

Also let friends and family know your emergency plan so they are not worried, and don't place themselves in danger or waste resources looking for you unnecessarily.

The QFES has specifically designed a 28-page user-friendly brochure called Senior and Safer with every-day as well as emergency situation tips to help keep you stay safe.

It states, at the very least, make sure you have these items covered in a final safety check:

  • Emergency Information List completed;
  • Street number clearly visible day and night;
  • Smoke alarm cleaned and a fresh battery installed (also in caravans);
  • Home escape plan prepared;
  • Fire extinguisher and fire blanket available;
  • Emergency Plan developed;
  • Emergency Kit prepared (including medication and scripts);
  • First Aid Kit available; and
  • Evacuation Plan prepared.

Google Senior and Safer to access the document or phone Tracey on (07) 4616 1907 for a printed copy.

Cleaning out gutters and installing smoke detectors remain important tasks in fire safety, and Tracey said the government-initiated Home Assist Secure service for over-60s could help keep homes safe if help was required. Phone (07) 4639 3821 or 137 468.

Get Ready Qld is another important source of information to ensure you know what to do in an emergency at, while Prepare Act Survive is at with all you need to know about bushfire safety.

Finally, in case of a heatwave, or very hot conditions, older people can be susceptible to heat stress, so ensure you are getting airflow through the house, use blinds and curtains to shade rooms from the sun and stay inside through the hottest part of the day, from 10am-3pm, or visit an air-conditioned building such as a shopping centre or library.

Drink small amounts of water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty, avoiding alcohol, caffeine or sugary drinks, eat small meals more often, slow down and avoid strenuous activity.

While many of these actions are simple, they are often overlooked, and could just save your life.

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