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Emergency responders bridge communications gap with seniors

WASHINGTON – When it came to making sure the residents of Arlington are prepared for an emergency, the Emergency Management Office realized they had a problem.

“How to reach the vulnerable population that we’re not reaching via social media or any technological outlets”, said Arlington Emergency Management Public Information Officer Grelia Soliz.

One of the specific groups is seniors, who often are not on social media or technologically savvy enough to find the information they need online. Seniors are also usually the population that needs the most assistance during an emergency.

So, the Emergency Management Office went old school to bridge the communications gap.

“We saw that there was a lack of communication between us and our residents and so we said lets go door to door, get boots on the ground and hit the streets by visiting them and getting the message to them. ”

On Saturday, 12 FEMA Corps and retiree volunteers did just that. They went floor by floor, door to door in the Carlin Independent Living Facility to ask people if they are ready for an emergency.

“Do you have a plan to reach your family in an emergency?”, one volunteer asked, “Do you have an emergency preparedness kit?”

And each apartment got a Go Kit, which is a starter emergency preparedness kit. Inside it had a small first aid kit, glow stick, emergency water, an emergency blanket and information on things they should do now to be ready for an emergency, before it happens.

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