Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Emergency Preparedness for People with special needs

Individuals and their families are urged to “resolve to be ready” this hurricane season. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region 6 office has launched a new hurricane preparedness website to help you accomplish that goal. FEMA also has important information for people with disabilities about putting together an emergency kit and developing a plan so you are ready for any type of disaster or emergency.

Some strategies to consider:

  • Create a support network to help you plan for an emergency. Consider family, neighbors, friends, people who provide services to you, faith-based and community groups. Tell these people where you keep your emergency supplies. Give at least one member of your support network a key to your house or apartment

  • Keep contact information for local independent living centers and other disability services organizations in a safe and easy-to-access place. If you provide any organizations or service providers with information about your functional needs and what you may require in an emergency, keep that data up to date

  • Work with local transportation and disability services (e.g., Paratransit, Independent Living Centers) to plan ahead for accessible transportation if you may need that for evacuation or other reasons during a disaster

  • Copies of medical prescriptions, doctors orders, and the style and serial numbers of the support devices you use

  • Medical alert tags or bracelets or written descriptions of your disability and support needs, in case you are unable to describe the situation in an emergency

  • Even if you do not use a computer yourself, consider putting important information onto a portable thumb drive for easy transport in an evacuation

  • If you receive federal disability benefits, register your bank account information in advance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury online at http://www.godirect.org/ so you can continue to access your money during an emergency

  • see more strategies here

  • For information and tools related to emergency preparedness for people with disabilities see the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination webpage.

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