Sample Paper on Evacuation And Sheltering Of Special Group

Evacuation And Sheltering Of Special Group-Elderly People In Tampa, Florida

During the time of disaster, local governments and other agencies may find themselves in a situation whereby they have to evacuate the whole population while considering the needs of special groups within the population. In Tampa, where the population is majorly of low income, these agencies found themselves with two major difficulties; evacuation of the elderly and the carless people. Many evacuation plans only indicate where people could obtain public transport but they fail to show how these people can reach these places (Hoque, Swanson, & Applied Demography Conference. 2012). The elderly people need an inclusion of the ways in which they could reach the public transport. In Tampa, this situation is made even worse because the younger population, which might have helped the old reach public transport, is mostly carless. The hurricane disaster therefore left many aged people helpless with no one to help them during the disaster.

Evacuation plan designed for old people is very crucial in disaster management and preparedness. In the United States of America, emergency planning is focused on the vulnerable members of the society like the aged people. This is because they are the most affected during disaster periods. The aged population suffers from the chronic diseases and other conditions, which make them, requires more assistance during these times. The elderly are slow to respond to crisis like the hurricane and they never understand the degree of the crisis (Dosa, Grossman, Wetle, & Mor, 2007). People who are responsible for evacuation must therefore ensure that during the evacuation process, the elderly are handled with a lot of patience. This evacuation plan seeks to inform all emergency response personnel to ensure that they listen to the eldely, repeat questions where necessary, and give clear explanation to the enquiries made by the elderly.

Evacuation would require that the personnel be able to reassure the elderly that they would be provided with medical assistance without necessarily sending them to the nursing homes. Those who are afraid of being taken away from their homes permanently must be reassured that the displacement is only temporary and that would be taken back to their homes after the disaster. The evacuation personnel must ensure that they assess the audio and visual abilities of the elderly before evacuating them. The inability to hear anything at such times may make the elderly look confused and disoriented.

The personnel may need to identify themselves to the elderly with visual problems. They would have to explain why they are taking them away and allow them to be guided to a safe place. The elderly should also be asked if they are using any medications and the personnel can collect the medications to be used by the elderly person (Masys, 2015). The personnel could use the modified vans to evacuate elderly people in wheelchairs. These vans could be obtained from the social services agencies or even from some people who own such vans.

The managers of the emergency teams should contact and work closely with the local social services agencies so that they would obtain any equipment they may need for the emergency evacuation of the elderly people. The manager must remember that for the evacuation to be effective, the following measures must be taken;

  • Ensure good communication between the elderly and the evacuation personnel.
  • Understand the degree of the disaster demands
  • Ensure adequate evacuation resources necessary for the physical evacuation of the aged people
  • Proper care to the people who are being assisted in evacuation
  • Properly designed evacuation plan.


Sheltering Of The Aged People During Disaster

Tampa should put in place an arrangement for a congregate care .where possible, it should direct its entire elderly people to specific shelters mainly designed for the aged. A nursing home can be set aside to cater for the aged because having the elderly and the young people at one point could present a huge challenge to the management of such homes. The physical designs of such nursing homes and even the foods eaten should have the needs of the elderly at heart. Nursing homes of sheltering the elderly must put in place, measures on how to accommodate dogs sued by some elderly people with visual problems (Thomas, Fothergill, & Blinn-Pike, 2010). These dogs cannot be left out of planning because these people use them for direction and warning of threats and alarms around them. These animals are also considered vulnerable and it would be better if the management find ways of accommodating them within the nursing homes.

Nursing Home Preparedness

Most nursing homes in Tampa are well for emergency in terms of treatment and triage, but measures should be made to ensure that these homes are in a better position to host the elderly during disasters. Tampa nursing homes are not considered as healthcare resources for the community and therefore their medical supplies are not adequate. Local healthcare organizations should ensure that the nursing homes are well equipped to cater for the medical needs of the elderly during disasters periods.

Another aspect to consider during the sheltering of the aged is foods given to the elderly. Some nursing homes provide foods that are not appropriate for the aged people (Elmore & Brown, 2007).  . These exposes the aged to malnutrition risk problems of gastrointestinal, for example, diarrhea. The management should ensure that food s eaten is easy to eat and swallow. This food s should also have high calories especially when the management has noticed possible risk of malnutrition.

Nursing homes should ensure that they set up modern toilets (western style toilets) to ease excretion difficulties faced by the elderly people. These toilets should not be far from the place of residence of the elderly people and well ventilated with enough lights. Nursing homes should establish measures and methods of providing toileting support to the elderly (Cefalu, 2014). Those who cannot go to the toilet by themselves should be taken there by nursing home personnel. Nursing home should ensure that dehydration is prevented and early intervention provided to the elderly during their short stay at the nursing homes. The management should explain to elderly evacuees the benefits of taking enough water daily. The management should also provide evacuees with dehydration treatment and admit the dehydrated elderly evacuees to hospital if necessary.

Sanitary measures should be ensured to protect the elderly from diseases related to poor sanitation. Disasters make the provision of water very difficult as sometimes it interferes with the supply system. Nursing homes should provide elderly evacuees with water and the support to ensure personal hygiene is maintained. Oral hygiene should be maintained to avoid bad breath and tooth decays. Elderly evacuees should be helped in changing their clothes and cleaning their bodies. Nursing homes should therefore provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, cleaning materials like shampoos and wet tissues. The personnel should elderly evacuees to clean and wash their fingers and hands. Underwear should be secured and provided for the evacuees because evacuation process may have led to them losing their clothes.

Another area, which must be considered in the sheltering of the elderly evacuees, is the issue of food poisoning. Sheltering of elderly during disaster usually means that many people eat and sleep in one place, where leftovers are not well disposed of and hands not well washed. These factors together with the depressed digestive systems of the elderly evacuees weaken their immune systems. Vomiting and diarrhea, which are the major symptoms of food poison easily creates imbalances in the elderly person’s electrolyte and fluids (Baker, & Cormier, 2015). It therefore means that during the short sheltering period, the evacuees should be exposed to highly hygienic environment. The foods provided must meet high level of hygiene standards. The elders should also be educated on the issues of food poisoning and enlightened on the dangers and prevention measures of food poisoning.

Decreased mobility among the elderly evacuees may lead to them experiencing pain in some parts of their bodies. Nursing homes should design their compounds in ways that encourage movements without the risks of falling down. Evacuation process may delay causing the elderly people to stay at one point for a longer period, the nursing home should therefore check for sign and identify elderly evacuees who may need the use of pain relievers and use of self-help aids. It may not be possible to discuss all the measures that nursing home should take to ensure that the elderly evacuees are well attended to because of variations of disasters, but the above measures would make great improvements in the evacuation and sheltering of the elderly during disaster.



Baker, L. R., & Cormier, L. A. (2015). Disasters and vulnerable populations: Evidence-based practice for the helping professions. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company

Cefalu, C. (2014). Disaster preparedness for seniors: A comprehensive guide for healthcare professionals. New York, NY: Springer

Dosa, D. M., Grossman, N., Wetle, T., & Mor, V. (2007). To evacuate or not to evacuate: lessons learned from Louisiana nursing home administrators following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 8(3), 142-149.

Elmore, D., & Brown, L. (2007). Emergency preparedness and response: health and social policy implications for older adults. Generations, 31(4), 66-74.

Hoque, N., Swanson, D. A., & Applied Demography Conference. (2012). Opportunities and challenges for applied demography in the 21st century. Dordrecht [etc.: Springer.

Masys, A. (2015). Disaster management: Enabling resilience. Cham, Switzerland: Springer,

Thomas, D. S., Fothergill, A., & Blinn-Pike, L. (2010). Social vulnerability to disasters. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.