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Weather Emergencies and Natural Disasters

Nurse assistants encounter medical emergencies on the job, but they also have to be prepared for weather emergencies and natural disasters. If a weather emergency or natural disaster happens while you are at work, you will need to know how to take care of patients and residents who cannot take care of themselves. Weather emergencies such as ice storms, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes can cause damage to buildings and can cause power outages too. The same is true of natural disasters like earthquakes. Sometimes an emergency is manmade, like a terrorist bombing, a mass shooting, or a chemical leak. All of these situations are emergencies, and the people in your care will count on you to help them deal with their health and with their immediate surroundings.

Each workplace will have an emergency manual and plan with procedures you can follow when an emergency occurs. Your supervisor will instruct you on how to respond to different types of emergencies, whether they are weather-related, natural disasters, or manmade. If there is a tornado warning, move to the lowest level of the building and stay away from windows. For earthquakes, go underneath a table to avoid falling objects. If there is a hurricane close by and there is time to prepare, your supervisor will let you know if you should help evacuate residents or patients.

You should know where the emergency manual is for your workplace. Also know where flashlights are for the staff and the residents, and keep a supply of bottled water in case the water is turned off. Listen to your supervisor and the other staff members for information on how to proceed. Patients and residents will rely on you to remain calm and explain to them what is happening. Being prepared for any type of emergency will help you and the residents feel safer.

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners