Feeling safe, being safe

February 10, 2015 by Martine Rodrigue


When a tragic, unforeseen event takes place, society as a whole turns its attention towards the victims and their loved ones. Such events cast doubt on the safety of vulnerable people. Are we doing enough to protect them? As a society, have we failed our elders? The tragedy at L’Isle-Verte last winter reminded us of one thing: seniors and people with a loss of independence are vulnerable.

Several measures can be taken by seniors themselves or by the people in their lives. The first step is to identify the main factors that make them more vulnerable. These factors may be related to their personal situation or the building in which they live.

Local community service centres (CLSCs) are the place to start when you need to assess the needs of people with a loss of independence. Professionals can assess dwelling safety in relation to the residents’ abilities, then make recommendations on how to make the living environment safer. No one should ever hesitate to ask for this help!

Certain programs might even prevent a tragedy like the one in L’Isle-Verte from happening in the future. Even though it is not available everywhere in Québec right now, some municipalities have an adapted rescue program (programme or opération secours adaptés, depending on the territory) that can save the lives of people with a loss of independence. This program makes it possible for people with special needs to receive a better response in the event of a fire or other emergency. To find out if the program is available in your area, contact your regional county municipality (RCM) or your local fire department. For example, you can go to http://www.ville.levis.qc.ca/Fr/Citoyens_Secours.asp (French only).

The Services Québec office in your area is the best place to get all the information you need on the available government programs. To obtain more information, call 1 877 644-4545 (toll free); if you have a hearing or speech impairment (TTY), call 1 800 361-9596 (toll free).

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