Saturday, January 09, 2016

Seniors may need "social network" preparation for natural disasters


Page B4 of the Saturday New York Times has a piece by Constance Gustke, “The Importance of Preparing for a Natural Disaster” especially for the elderly. But the byline on the front “Business Day” page read “A strong social network can help older Americans get the help they need in time of emergency.”  And that doesn’t mean Facebook.

There’s a story about an elderly woman who had lived 45 years in Middletown CA without incident, before a catastrophic fire.

Overwhelming fires, long tracking tornadoes, river floods (from unusual tropical rain events), and hurricanes may be becoming stronger because of climate change.  The most likely of these is the fire issue.

Other less likely catastrophes could come from terrorism or even from space weather (such as extreme solar storms).  Earthquake danger would seem to be rather constant, but California is overdue, and rarer huge (volcanic) events are possible in other parts of the country, especially Yellowstone and the Pacific Northwest.

Seniors who downsize can take care to make sure that they move into properties well above any possible flood risk, and away from fire prone areas in exurbs.  The latter may be harder to predict, as grass fires in the plains happen as well as mountain forest fires.  For tornado risk, areas south of Dallas-Ft. Worth generally have lower risk of large tornadoes than farther North (despite the Dec. 26 incident) or East because cold air masses usually don’t penetrate that far south.  Despite the popularity of Florida, it seems to me that coastal living should be avoided, although some people tell me that the best high-rise properties in Florida are built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes.  I don’t know if that’s really true.

Becoming homeless in a widespread catastrophe could happen to anyone.

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