Across the top of Australia the build up has started. In outback areas the temperature is rising and the first of the storms are moving through. Even in the more temperate areas of the country people are gearing up for the hot weather to come and the summer storm season.

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Now is the time to start thinking about what you need to do to be prepared in case of a natural emergency, such as cyclones, floods and fires, even scorching summer days. Services will need to consider what they and their clients may need in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

Make preparations for what your service and your clients need to do should an emergency arise.

This is where client emergency management plans and service disaster management plans come to the fore. Now is the time for you to review these for your service. Let’s start with clients…

When disaster strikes, be that a cyclone or severe storm, there is usually so much to do that the last thing you need to be worried about is deciding what needs to be put in place for clients, especially the vulnerable clients, and staff.

Do the groundwork in the time leading up to the risky months and your job will be much easier should the worst case scenario occur.

In a natural emergency there may be multiple clients with support needs requiring your attention. As the coordinator or support worker you may require additional help from outside people and services to assist the frail aged or younger people with a disability to ensure their safety.

These other people who come to help may have no prior knowledge of the clients. This is where good client emergency management plans are essential.

An emergency management plan for individual clients needs to be brief but contain sufficient information to remind you of the essential care needs of the person and their stated preferences in an emergency.

Suggested information in the plan for a person living in a remote community includes:

  • Preferred name
  • Current address
  • Alerts or Medical conditions that impact on their care needs
  • Essential medication
  • Behaviour triggers, if known
  • Preferred location if evacuation is required
  • Special needs

The emergency management plan can also assist in the case of a personal emergency should they arise. In home care, the family carer bears the lion’s share of the care tasks, however if they are incapacitated or need to attend another family emergency, this leaves the client vulnerable.

We suggest that services schedule a review of individual client emergency management plans every October / November with the client and their family to ensure the information is current and correct.

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