In emergencies, it is important to have a plan to keep everyone safe. By being prepared and informed, you can respond effectively. Here, you will find information, tips, and resources tailored to the needs of individuals with disabilities.
Disabilities and Emergency Preparedness Tips
- Create an Emergency Plan: Make a personalized plan that considers your specific needs. Include important contact information, medical details and necessary supplies.
- Build an Emergency Kit: Prepare a kit with essential supplies like medications, medical equipment, non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, batteries and a communication device.
- Stay Informed: Stay updated on local emergency alerts, weather forecasts and evacuation notices. Sign up for notifications and keep a battery-powered radio handy.
- Establish Communication: Develop a communication plan with caregivers, family and friends. Keep a list of emergency contacts easily accessible.
- Practice Evacuation Drills: Regularly practice evacuations with caregivers. Familiarize yourself with routes, exits and equipment like wheelchairs or walkers.
- Wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace if applicable.
- Keep backup medication and essential equipment. Pack extra batteries.
- Maintain a list of emergency contacts.
- Have multiple ways to communicate with people who can help you, such as pen and paper, signs with phrases or pictures, emergency whistle, flags or lights.
- If you rely on life-sustaining medical treatments, know about multiple facilities that can help you if your regular location cannot.
- Install accessible smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
- Create a fire escape plan and share it with caregivers and family.
- Practice low crawling to escape smoke-filled rooms.
- Secure heavy objects that could cause harm or block exits if they were to fall over.
- Identify safe places to take cover and hold on.
- Keep emergency supplies near your bed, including a phone.
- Find a safe shelter away from windows.
- Stay informed about tornado warnings. Consider buying an all-hazards radio that can notify you with visual and tactile features, like vibrations and text readouts of alerts, if you have hearing impairments.
- Know flood-prone areas and evacuate if needed.
- Keep important documents in waterproof containers.
- Consider portable wheelchair ramps.
- Charge your devices in case electricity becomes unavailable or you have to move away from a power source.
- Plan multiple evacuation routes. Some may be unavailable.
- If you are in an apartment building, office or even your home, consider how you will be able to exit the building. Keep in mind the electricity may be out and elevators might be unavailable.
- Keep supplies and documents in an accessible "go bag" so you can leave immediately. Remember to include the necessary documentation for your service animal so that you can keep the animal with you if you use an emergency public shelter.
- Notify local authorities about specific needs.