A guide to help residents prepare for and cope in a disaster was launched at the International Day of Older Persons event in Gore on Friday.
The Emergency Planning Guide — A guide to local emergency preparedness, your hazards and more for older people booklet is a joint venture between Gore District Council’s Ready for Living initiative and Emergency Management Southland.
It has been written specifically for the Gore district.
The booklet covers preparation, local hazards, important contacts and focuses particularly on issues often faced by older people in a disaster.
About 120 people attended the event held at the Gore and Districts Memorial RSA.
Speakers included Gore District Council’s community strategy manager Anne Pullar, Ready for Living co-ordinator Kylie Aitken, Gore Health chief executive Karl Metzler and Te Whatu Ora health of older people portfolio manager Sharon Adler.
Gore High School pupils handed out the booklet to people at the event and served them afternoon tea.
After the event, Ms Aitken said the challenge was to include all the essential information as well as keep the booklet a manageable size.
‘‘Text was kept large, spaced out with bullet points to make it easier to follow and the booklet was printed to make it accessible to all.’’
The idea to write the booklet came about due to the increase of extreme weather events and natural disasters worldwide.
‘‘Due to climate change and scientific predictions that the Alpine Fault will produce a large quake, we can expect more emergency situations more frequently.
‘‘Many older people I’ve chatted to are not prepared for a disaster, with the Kiwi attitude ‘she’ll be right’.’’
Requirements of the older population could be slightly different from the general population.
‘‘Many older people are staying in their homes longer, with reliance on carers, cleaners and meals on wheels.
‘‘In an emergency, these services may not be able to reach their clients, so it’s really important for them to be prepared.’’
Emergency Management Southland response adviser Tracey Fraser said the most common hazards that could directly affect the Gore district were floods, storms and earthquakes.
‘‘It is important to remember that events in other parts of the country can affect supply of grocery items, or services such as electricity or internet to Gore.’’
The booklet contained reminders about storing enough medication and not waiting until the last minute to get repeats.
‘‘If you rely on electricity for your heating and cooking, you need to look at having an alternate option such as a fireplace, barbecue or gas stove you can use, as there is the potential for power cuts that could last for a prolonged period.
‘‘With telecommunication changing from copper lines to fibre, your landline will also not work in a power cut.’’
Ready for Living plans to host free basic first aid courses for older people and Emergency Management Southland will be supporting the updating of the Gore community’s response plans.
The booklet is available at the Gore Library, Mataura Service Centre, Gore Visitors Centre and Connected Eastern Southland.
It can also be accessed on the council’s website.
Anyone wanting some delivered can contact Ms Aitken at the council.