10,000 Local Seniors to Receive Self-Help Evac Pac
September 29, 2006
WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA (September 29, 2006) - About 10,000 East Bay seniors are getting an emergency preparedness tool that will help them survive if they have to be evacuated from their homes during an earthquake or other disaster.
A group of seniors living in Walnut Creek's Rossmoor community launched an emergency preparedness campaign last year to test the new self-help tool the "Evac Pac," a small, red bag for medication to be kept in seniors' homes near a designated exit so it can easily be grabbed in case of an evacuation or even an emergency hospital trip.
Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle B. Uilkema created the concept and raised donations totaling $19,000 to cover the cost of producing the Evac Pacs. The bags were designed as a model for the rest of the county and ways to expand the program throughout Contra Costa County are being discussed. The bags will be distributed to the presidents of the 14 Rossmoor mutuals from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. The association presidents will arrange for the distribution of the Evac Pacs to the residents within each mutual.
The Evac Pac was first given to about 800 Rossmoor residents in January as a pilot project to evaluate the self-help program's feasibility. A follow up survey completed by this test group indicated that more than 70% of the residents agreed that the Evac Pac was a helpful tool in emergency preparedness.
"We are delighted to have worked on this project with Supervisor Uilkema and to be able to give this Evac Pac to all our residents. It could save their lives," said Donna Kaufman, Rossmoor resident and Chair of Rossmoor's Emergency Preparedness Committee.
The Evac Pac bag includes plastic bags in which three-day doses of critical medications can be stored, a card on which important medical information can be recorded, instructions for how to use the Evac Pac, a sticker for the front door noting where the Evac Pac is located and a reminder sticker to check the refrigerator for additional medication.
Supervisor Uilkema said she heard that after the Florida hurricanes in 2004, seniors were showing up in shelters without the medication or prescription information they needed. With 10,000 seniors in Rossmoor, she was concerned. Hurricane Katrina made the project even more important.
"We wanted to be sure that if a similar emergency happened in Contra Costa - a fire, earthquake or other disaster - there would be tools in place to help seniors be prepared," Uilkema said.
Uilkema created a committee to bring the project to life and members included representatives from John Muir Health, Kaiser Permanente, American Medical Response, the County's Fire, Sheriff, and Health Services departments and the Rossmoor Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Attention Editors: The media is invited to a photo opportunity when the Evac Pacs are distributed from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Veterans Flag Pole located to the right of the main entrance of Rossmoor's Administrative Building (Gateway Clubhouse) located at the corner of Tice Creek Drive and Golden Rain Road in Walnut Creek.
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