Preparing for the unexpected

2011-09-25T00:00:00Z 2011-09-25T15:55:04Z Preparing for the unexpectedBy Heather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 25, 2011 12:00 am  • 

VALPARAISO | During an emergency, a power outage is an inconvenience for most people.

But for senior citizens, that power outage could put their health or lives at risk, especially in extreme weather.

That's why administration at Pines Village Retirement Communities is kicking off a capital campaign to raise money for an emergency shelter site for older adults in Porter County.

"When tragedy hits, and we have a snowstorm or tornado or power outage, it's a tough thing if there's an evacuation," said Amy Page, public relations director for Pines Village.

Page said Pines Village is an independent living community with services to assist the needs of older adults. She said it recently finished expansion of the community in 2009 and feel it is equipped to become an emergency shelter.

"Our first step is to acquire a backup generator so that if there is a power outage it will relieve resources in our county from our emergency personnel in our county. We have had power outages and had to bring in generators for heating, air conditioning, and serving food," said Page, who estimates cost of a generator at $120,000.

She said Pines Village is a natural fit for the emergency shelter since they have the expanded site and have provided these services in the past.

Sharon Kish, president of the United Way of Porter County, agrees.

"It's a wonderful idea, and the Pines has experience working with the elderly so it makes perfect sense. It meets a need in the community," Kish said.

Page said the generator is the first step in the community's plans and it has yet to determine future needs for the emergency shelter, but she hopes to move closer to that goal during the Rebirth of Cool Fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Porter County Expo Center.

"It is an event for all ages, and we hope to raise a lot of funds for the shelter," Page said. The fundraiser will include live music, dancing, food and a cash bar.

For more information, contact Page at (219) 465-1591 or visit www.pinesvillage.org/news.php.

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