Gloria Huang, social engagement specialist for the American Red Cross
Huang suggests that people taking care of elderly loved ones consider adding a social media component to their emergency preparedness plan.
"So many people are using social media as a way to communicate,
including emergency agencies, the Red Cross, etc.," she says. "If we're
putting all the information out there, it can be a good way to get
official reports on what's going on in your area."
The key, says Huang, is picking the social media resources that work best for you and your loved one.
Twitter probably isn't a go-to resource for seniors and their
caregivers, and a Facebook post is by no means a substitute for dialing
9-1-1. But, there are some simple (and free) downloadable tools that can
make useful additions to an existing response plan:
- Emergency (free): directly dials the numbers for 4
primary emergency services, including: police, firemen, medical and
general. Also allows you to send an SMS text to request help that
includes your current location.
- First Aid by American Red Cross (free): offers treatment instructions for burns, bleeding, broken bones, etc.
- Hurricane by American Red Cross (free): allows
you to keep an eye on the weather conditions in your area and offers
instructions on how to stay safe during a storm. Additional features
include: a feature that turns your phone into a flashlight or emergency
beacon, a directory of Red Cross shelters in your area, and a program
that allows you to update your Facebook status, notifying others that
you and your loved one are safe.