People with disabilities and other mobility issues have unique needs to contend with and formulating an emergency plan takes a little extra preparation. Supplies and gear are never one-size-fits-all, so be sure you’re prepared with the right gear for everyone.
Emergencies like fires, floods, and terrorism are dangerous, but they can pose even more serious problems to individuals with disabilities.
Gear up for emergencies with the right supplies.
Plan for emergencies by putting together all of the supplies you’ll need. It’s not always easy to find replacements for specialized medical equipment, so stock up on supplies to prepare.
- Use a durable bag or container that can hold large items but is also easy to maneuver if you need to be on the move.
- Consider mobility aids like crutches, canes, and walkers that are light and easy to carry if needed. Have any extra parts on hand for repairs.
- Extra batteries, inner tubes, cables, gloves for a wheelchair or scooter
- Stock up on medical supplies and have an extensive first aid kit that has specific medications that are needed.
Make a Plan and Practice Evacuations
Involve everyone in your planning for emergencies so each person knows their role. Run through it regularly and when the time comes it will go much more smoothly.
The Red Cross offers a useful planning kit that’s a great resource. Remember to assess each person’s needs and have a plan to cover the movements and supplies necessary for them.
Be Assertive in Emergency Situations
Your ability to communicate about your needs or the needs of the person with mobility needs will be crucial in an emergency situation. Being assertive means knowing how to speak up with your ideas and needs.
Give clear directions and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Some equipment might require multiple people to lift or move, so have an understanding of the parts and workings of the specific equipment.
If you foresee problems in your town or building, let the authorities know that there are hazards that prevent people with disabilities from evacuating.
Do emergency workers and others trying to help a favor by wearing a medical identification bracelet or necklace that lists your condition and any other medically necessary information.
Work Within a Supportive Community
Start planning by asking how others plan for people with similar needs. They might have covered an issue in a great way and can offer insight.
When you have contacts that you know are prepared, your ability to survive increases because you have someone you can count on.
When you prepare for any needs you might encounter everyone can move quickly and survive emergency scenarios.
Disability.gov recommends that you find the nearest emergency resources, like a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center, ahead of time so that locating help is easier.
Helpful Online Resources for Planning Ahead
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention