An emergency can happen at any time, and it is essential to be prepared. Below are tips about emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.
- Plan to be on your own for at least 3 days after a disaster.
- Telephones, power, and transportation services may be disrupted.
- Review, drill, and update plans and equipment at least every 6 months.
- Include any service animals in drills.
- If you use walking aids, always keep them near you.
- Practice telling first reponders about the best way to assist you.
- Anticipate reactions you may have after a disaster and plan strategies for coping with them.
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather radio can be set to alert you to natural or man-made disasters by audible alarm, visual strobe alarm, or vibration alerts. For more information, see www.weather.gov.
It’s a good idea to keep a bag containing the supplies you would need in an emergency, just in case you need to leave in a hurry. Be sure to label all items and keep the kit handy. These are suggested supplies to include:
- Battery-operated flashlight, radio, TV
- All medications and cooler (if necessary); list of prescriptions
- 1-week supply of non-perishable food that meets your dietary needs; manual can opener
- 1 gallon of water per person per day; more if needed (ask your doctor)
- Cash, credit cards, checkbook, ATM card
- Any necessary medical equipment and assistive devices (e.g. oxygen and portable unit, hearing aids, walkers, glasses)
- Towels, masks, industrial respirators, etc., for chemical sensitivities, respiratory condition, etc.
- If applicable, items for infants, e.g. formula, diapers
- Important documents (photo ID, birth certificates, proof of address, medical insurance, etc.)
- Supplies for any service animals, including food, ID tags, etc.
- Emergency list (see below)
- Identify possible disasters in your community.
- Learn emergency plans in workplace, community, apartment building, etc.
- Evaluate your needs during a disaster and the help you may need.
- Make safety officials, employers, teachers, building managers, etc., aware of your abilties and limitations.
- Review this information with your personal support network.
Personal Support Network
- Identify people to assist you before, during, and after emergencies.
- Include friends, family, co-workers, personal attendants, or others at home, work, and other places you spend time.
- Make a communications plan.
- Tell your support network about your assistance needs and how to operate any equipment.
- Give them a copy of your emergency list (see below) and spare key.
Make a list (paper or audio) with important information in different locations, including:
- Doctor’s contact information
- Personal suppot network (see above) contact information
- Medication information: name, dosage, frequency.
- Equipment information:name, supplier, serial number.
- Service providers’ contact information.
- Written information describing your abilities and limitations.
Preparing for Evacuations
- Leave when ordered or when in immediate danger.
- Include your needs in evacuation plans at home, workplace, etc.
- Identify 2 escape routes for every room.
- Keep distress flags, whistles, beepers close.
- Tell others about your needs (e.g. ramps, alerts, audible i nstructions).
- Write directions about equipment and safe transport methods.
- Set a meeting place near and outside the area.
- Plan for transportation disruptions.
- Make a plan to stay with family and friends.
- Find out which shelters have accessible accomodations.
- Bring special equipment (oxygen, mobility aids).
- Make a plan for any pets, as service animals are allowed in shelters but pets usually are not.
- If sheltering in place, follow instructions from officials.
- Prepare a kit of supplies to take with you (see above).
- Identify your regular service providers (home health care, personal assistance services, transportaion, meals, etc.).
- Learn about their emergency plans and emergency contact information.
- Ask them how services will continue during emergencies.
- Keep all service providers’ numbers on your emergency list.
- Maintain a list of alternate service and equipment providers.
Information provided by EAD and Associates, LLC: Emergency Management & Special Needs Consultants.