Residents of Erie County, young and old, encounter similar challenges during inclement weather. These barriers may particularly impact participation in daily activities and increase risk during community mobility for older adults. Planning and information sharing should be universally designed to better communicate with residents in the event of weather-related and other emergencies.
"Public transportation in the suburbs is terrible. For any emergency they say to go to a shelter but if you don't drive how are you supposed to get there?"
- Resident Survey
Several different issues in emergency preparedness and resilience were identified in the survey. Some addressed the local transportation problem increasing a difficulty in emergency situation. Others indicated lack of local information.
"[I need] local information about where to go in emergency such as noxious gas, power outage, water emergency."
"[I want to know] the things that I need to be prepared for, such as a list."
- Resident Survey
The Age Friendly Erie County research team conducted a series of community conversations to gather additional input from a variety of perspectives. During a community conversation with older adult immigrants from Nepal, they reported their hesitation to contact emergency services because of the difficulties they experience with communication in English. Older adults who are deaf or hard of hearing identified a need of device to alert deaf people when there is a fire or weather emergency and interpreters during those emergency situations. Older adults living in rural communities also addressed lack of emergency shelters in town.
In the Research
Tuohy, Robyn, Christine Stephens, and David Johnston. "Older adults׳ disaster preparedness in the context of the September 2010–December 2012 Canterbury earthquake sequence." International journal of disaster risk reduction 9 (2014): 194-203.