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Queens Chronicle

PRIME TIMES: 60 Plus Emergency prep for seniors on the agenda

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2019 10:30 am

Expect the unexpected.

That will be one of the messages offered at a comprehensive program on emergency preparedness at Queens Borough Hall on Friday, Feb. 8 beginning at 9 a.m.

Organized by Queens Interagency Council on Aging, the event will include presentations by experts in the field as well as related personal stories from state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park).

Everyone is welcome, but seating is very limited and reservations are a must.

Stressing the importance of knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency, QICA’s Executive Director Bruce Cunningham said, “We tend to do this every couple of years. You never know when something could happen. It’s important to the community.”

It holds especially true for seniors whom Pheffer Amato recognizes as “our most vulnerable population.”

While reflecting on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 storm that devastated parts of the borough, the Assemblywoman will also try to make seniors, many of whom she says are familiar with modern technology, more aware as to where to turn for information.

“You have to just keep talking about it,” she said. “You have to keep it fresh every year. It’s always good to be prepared.

She sees Friday’s forum as being, in effect, a “refresher course” on how best to survive disasters, both natural and otherwise.

Addabbo, who shares with Pheffer Amato a new post-Sandy outlook on disasters, said, “We think differently as a government and as individuals. Preparation can save a life, protect your property. There’s nothing wrong with being prepared.”

He agrees with the assemblywoman that seniors are the most vulnerable, particularly during times of crises. Often, he said, they “have limited access to mobility,” and, very frequently, have no family to turn to for assistance.

According to Cunningham, the topics to be discussed will range from the importance of smoke detectors to what to do in case of a terrorist attack, and from fire safety to how to handle a lack of electricity. Telephone numbers to call for help during any sort of emergency will also be provided.

Practical advice, tips and strategies from the experts will be a major part of the program.

Sometimes the simplest suggestion — like keeping a magnetic information board on the refrigerator — can be a lifesaver. The meeting promises to provide plenty of those.

There are several special enticements. One is a free raffle offered to all seniors in attendance, the winners of which will receive so-called “Go-bags,” three-day emergency supply kits that individuals can grab quickly and easily if they are forced, for any reason, to evacuate their homes.

And, as is QICA’s custom, a free continental breakfast will also be available.

A week before the event, Cunningham indicated that over three-fourths of the seats had already been reserved, so he emphasized the need to RSVP. Reservations may be made by visiting qicany@aol.com or by calling (718) 268-5954.

Borough Hall is located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. The Emergency Preparedness event will take place in room 213.

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