This article was kindly submitted by Brenda. In this article, she talks about the very important subject of Emergency Preparedness for People with a Disability.
Emergency Preparedness with a Disability
Emergencies can occur at any time, and for people with disabilities, they can be incredibly difficult to handle. Disabilities that impact vision, hearing, learning or mobility create unique needs that must be addressed in order to respond to an emergency.
When you are trying to figure out an emergency plan as an individual with a disability, it is crucial to take several factors into consideration. Keep reading to discover some helpful advice on emergency preparedness with a disability.
Assess Your Needs
Before you can start nailing down the details of your plan, you need to carefully assess your needs. Think about your daily living needs.
Do you require assistance with personal care?
Are you dependant on equipment that requires electricity?
Do you use special equipment, such as a shower chair or adaptive feeding device?
Also, think about how you will get around. You need to have a plan for how you’ll navigate debris in your home or along your planned escape route. You also need to consider whether you require accessible transportation or a specifically equipped vehicle in the event of an evacuation.
Do you depend on assistance from a service animal? If so, how will you care for them during and after an emergency?
Do you have a way to travel with the animal, if needed?
Think about everything that you need in order to make it through a typical day, and consider how your needs may hinder you in the event of an emergency. Understanding your needs will help you determine the things that you may need assistance with if disaster strikes.
Plan an Evacuation Route
When you have a disability, evacuating may not be as simple as walking away from your home and going to a safer area or an emergency shelter.
For example, If you have a mobility disability and typically use an elevator, you may need to plan an alternative means of escape for emergency situations. You may need to use a ramp or exit via a window if the elevator cannot be used. Depending on the nature of your disability, you may need to be able to reach another person who can help you evacuate.
Create a Support Network
In the event of an emergency, you may need help from another person. Create a list of people who can help you evacuate your home, bring you supplies, care for your service animal, etc. in the days leading up to, during and after a disaster. Write down all of their contact information and place it in a waterproof container in your emergency kit.
Make sure the people you choose know they are on your list so that they can anticipate your call in the event of an emergency.
It is also helpful to work out an arrangement with someone to check on you before, during and after an emergency. This helps ensure that you will be taken care of if disaster strikes. Having someone check in ahead of time will also help you be prepared for the event.
Let the members of your support network know where you store all of your supplies. If you have a few trusted family members or close friends in your network, you may want to consider providing them with a key to your home or apartment. Doing so could save precious minutes if you are in need of help during an emergency.
Stay Stocked Up on Supplies
Whether you have a disability or not, you should always keep a well-stocked emergency kit. As a person with a disability, you need to make sure that your kit contains any supplies and medications you require on a regular basis.
If you depend on medical equipment that uses electricity, talk to your healthcare provider about how to prepare to use it during a power outage. If the device cannot be used without electricity, your doctor will let you know what to use as an alternative until the power is restored. Keep whatever supplies are recommended on hand at all time in case of an emergency.
Wear medical alert tags or a bracelet, and consider carrying a card that lists your medications and outlines the basics of your disability. Both will come in handy if you are in need of help but unable to talk to emergency responders.
Keep extra clothes on hand. For cold-weather emergencies, stock up on wholesale sweatshirts. Having several ensures that you will be able to stay warm no matter how low the temperature drops. In hot weather, make sure you have tank tops. Wholesale tank tops are inexpensive, and they are one of the best ways to stay cool if an emergency takes out your air conditioner.
Make sure you have at least a few days’ worth of food and water available in your home at all times. Invest in a weather radio, flashlights, and extra batteries.
If you do not normally use a cell phone, consider purchasing a prepaid model. And remember to keep it charged in case of emergencies so If the main phone line goes down. You will be able to use your prepaid cell phone to call for help.
Emergency Preparedness with a Disability – Conclusion
As a person with a disability, the thought of facing a disaster can be terrifying. Carefully assess your specific needs, and consult with your doctor to ask for advice regarding how to prepare for an emergency.
Create a support network, make sure you are stocked up on supplies at all times. And figure out how you will be able to evacuate your home if your normal exit route is unavailable.
Figuring out all of the details can be challenging. But in doing so, you can rest assured knowing that you will know what to do if a disaster strikes in your area.
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