Preparing for a Disaster When You’re Disabled

Natural and home disasters can be devastating financially and to the health and body of anyone involved. For those with disabilities, disasters can be even more terrifying as it could mean losing the only means to be able to leave if their supplies become inaccessible or damaged while they’re trying to escape. It’s essential to make sure the right preparations are made before a disaster to ensure everyone can get out safely and with their lives and agency intact.

Trusted contacts and essential information

While planning for any disasters, make sure to have lists of all important information readily available for those who may arrive on the scene. These lists should include personal information like name, illnesses, medications, doctors, and any other info that could help medical personnel better provide treatment in the aftermath. These lists should be provided to a group of three to five trusted contacts who will know everything about the disaster escape plan.

These contacts can be friends, family, or coworkers who are trustworthy and will be able to relay any necessary information in an emergency. They should know the entire plan, have a copy of the essential information lists and be able to recognize and provide additional info to medical and emergency personnel.

Emergency supplies and stashes

Those with disabilities live with a wide range of conditions or diseases so it’s important to focus on the aids that best suit the situation. Prepare the necessary supplies that fit the disability, be it vision, hearing, movement, or any other specific effective condition. Emergency stashes should be both general and specific, holding food, water, and medical supplies while also providing backup medication or a spare cane, hearing aid, set of glasses, etc.

An evacuation plan

While crafting an evacuation plan, consider as many escape options and safe route alternatives as possible. Plan who will receive the evacuation plan and where the emergency stash will best be placed. Every disabled person can live a widely different life so an evacuation plan will be specific to the individual and their needs. Consider what will best help to get to safety and prepare thorough emergency supplies that will bandage wounds and ease overwhelming stress.    

This article was originally published on Russ Ewell’s blog.

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