Emergencies can happen at a moment’s notice. Mobility, hearing, learning, or seeing disabilities can create specific needs that individuals must address to be able to respond to an emergency.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
Do you regularly need assistance with personal care, such as bathing and grooming?
What will you do if water service is cut off for several days or if you are unable to heat water?
- How will you continue to use equipment that runs on electricity, such as dialysis, electrical lifts, etc.?
- Do you need a specially equipped vehicle or accessible transportation?
- What if your caregiver cannot reach you because roads are blocked or the disaster has affected him or her as well?\
- Can you reach and activate an alarm?
- How will you call for the help you will need to leave the building?
- Will you be able to care for your animal during and after a disaster?
The American Red Cross urges everyone, especially individuals with disabilities, to become “Red Cross Ready” for any urgent situation, which means:
In addition, people with disabilities, and their caregivers, need to learn more about managing communications, equipment, service animals, pets and home hazards. The Red Cross recommends four important steps:
- Create a personal support network to help you prepare for a disaster and identify and get the resources you need to cope effectively
- Complete a personal assessment to identify your current capabilities and the assistance you may need before, during and after a disaster
- Gather information on where you local shelters are located and if you community have a local evacuation plan
- Make an emergency plan
For more information, contact your local emergency management office or visit the American Red Cross website by clicking HERE.
Co-authored by the American Red Cross and Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.