In the aftermath of a disaster, communications may be interrupted and access to medical facilities and other necessities may be limited. If you or someone in your household have a disability, it’s important to have a detailed plan to ensure you have everything you need for at least several days.
Ready.gov provides a list of planning steps for individuals with disabilities. This includes:
- Create a support network. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
- Be ready to explain to first responders that you need to evacuate and choose to go to a shelter with your family, service animal, caregiver, personal assistant and your assistive technology devices and supplies.
- Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting to a medical clinic. Work with local services, public transportation or paratransit to identify your local or private accessible transportation options.
- Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies. You may want to consider giving one member a key to your house or apartment.
- Contact your city or county government’s emergency management agency or office. Many local offices keep lists of people with disabilities so they can be helped quickly in a sudden emergency.
- If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility.
- If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about how you can prepare for its use during a power outage.
- Wear medical alert tags or bracelets.
- If you have a communication disability make sure your emergency information says the best way to communicate with you.
- Plan for children with disabilities and people who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments.
Check out the HSI Emergency Care blog for more tips and recommendations on building an emergency kit that fits your unique needs.