Disasters can occur when you least expect. Emergency preparedness is key to staying safe during these difficult times and it’s especially important for people with disabilities. These guidelines can help people with impairments be prepared to face a disaster:
- Create a disaster preparedness kit. Include prescribed medication, extra batteries for any medical device you may use, as well as copies of important documents.
- Have a list of contacts with names, addresses, email addresses and social media of family members, close friends, doctors, co-workers, etc. to easily get in touch with them.
- Ask in advance at least 3 trustworthy people to help you. They should know your needs and capabilities and be able to provide support within minutes of the disaster.
- Assess your personal capabilities and what you can do during any type of emergency, such as flood or fire. In case of a fire, do you need help with using a fire extinguisher? If you must evacuate, can you exit the home on your own? Have a list of your needs and share it with your support team.
- Get informed about your local emergency plans. Know which disaster can strike your community and learn about the local response plans, evacuation plans and emergency shelters. If you need help with transportation, let the emergency management office know.
- Plan the escape routes and safe places of your home. Practice the drill at least twice a year with your family, caregiver (if applicable), support team and pets. In case of a fire, be ready to exit the home immediately. If a tornado occurs, make sure you can easily access a designated safe place in the home.
- Know how to turn off utilities if instructed by local authorities or you suspect there is a water leak or if the electrical lines are damaged.
Every individual is unique and has different needs, depending on the disability. Follow this guide to learn preparedness information about specific disability cases. If you need help with fire, water or mold damage restoration, don’t hesitate to contact your local PuroClean office.