Helping Senior Citizens Prepare for Hurricanes
by: Laurie Johnson, June 13, 2011 8:06:00 pm
Leading up to and during hurricane season, Galveston County holds a series of planning meetings for area residents. But one segment of the population is unable to attend those meetings.
John Simsen is with the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management. He says they realized homebound senior citizens have little access to the latest disaster information.
"We've learned with previous hurricanes that no matter how hard you try and get the word out through radio, television, newspapers, what have you...there are always going to be a certain segment of the population that isn't getting that message. So we're always trying new ways to get that message out there."
So this hurricane season, for the first time, they're sending out information packets to Meals on Wheels recipients.
Simsen says the drivers who deliver the meals are able to answer questions and talk through concerns about hurricane season with the senior citizens.
"It just made great sense to go ahead and sort of piggy back on that regular process of delivering these meals by adding some hurricane publications to the delivery. These citizens are often the individuals in the county who are most susceptible to problems when you have a hurricane come in and they're also the least likely to be able to get into a vehicle and evacuate without some kind of assistance. So really they need the information probably more than the general population."
About 500 people receive services through Galveston County's Meals on Wheels program. Simsen says many of them will need evacuation assistance in the event of a hurricane.