Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities

September 26, 2021

Identifying Needs Prior to a Catastrophe is Incredibly Important  

Emergencies and disasters happen in unpredictable ways and in some instances, with no advanced warning. These unexpected situations are challenging for everyone, but can be especially difficult for individuals with special needs and their caregivers. Which is why disaster preparedness is critical for the disability community. The Los Angeles Times recently ran a report on this important topic. Their article advocates for people with disabilities to identify their daily needs and incorporate them into an emergency preparedness plan. This plan should include a detailed list of medications and dosages, names of doctors and how they can be reached, special equipment needed, as well as health insurance information. Also featured in the article was the Americans with Disabilities Act Center’s four step framework for emergency situations, which can be adapted for anyone. These suggestions include:

  1. Find five trusted allies and share your emergency preparedness plan: You should have at least five people who are fully informed about your emergency plan, including what supplies you have and need, your evacuation plan and all of your medical information. Write down their contact information so that you have it as well. Do not rely on just one person or on having contact information stored digitally.
  2. Prioritize your health needs and create lists: Have physical and digital copies of everything: doctors and their contact information; medications and dosages; what kind of equipment you use, where you store it and how you use it. This information should be accessible to your allies and emergency responders.
  3. Create your emergency kits: You should have an emergency kit for your home, your car, on your person and at work. These kits should have the emergency basics, as well as supplies for any specific needs.
  4. Plan how and when to evacuate: Typically an earthquake will not trigger an evacuation, but wildfires do. Plan at least two evacuation routes and practice them. Make sure they’re accessible to you and your needs.

Original Article

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