Preparing for Emergencies for People with Disabilities

For people of all abilities, it is important to prepare for potential emergencies and disasters such as house fires, tornadoes, and major snowstorms. For people with disabilities, especially those who may need a little extra assistance, it is even more important.

With recent major storms throughout the country, and a hard winter predicted for this year, we did some research on how best to prepare for a disaster in your home, school, workplace and more.

Experts at the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that you follow four steps when it comes to preparing for a disaster. The first is to get informed, which involves contacting a local emergency management office or Red Cross chapter to gather information on community hazards, disaster plans, warning systems, assistance programs and more.

The second step is to make an emergency plan – and a backup emergency plan – that will help ensure you and your family’s safety. Make sure to make a list of everything you and your child need to survive, including special equipment, food, water and more, and figure out how you can get access to these things in the event of an emergency. You should also create a communication plan as well as escape routes, safe places and meeting points, especially for your home. If you or your child uses a service animal, you will need to make plans for that animal as well. Make sure to create a plan for each potential emergency!

Third, you should assemble an emergency supply kit that you can take with you at a moment’s notice. This can include basic yet necessary items your family may need to stay safe and comfortable, including non-perishable food, water, extra clothing and more. It may also include a first aid kit as well as any other items specific to your child’s needs.

The fourth and final step is to maintain your plan and kit. Review it every six months and make sure every member of your family knows what to do and when in the case of a disaster.

This is just a brief summary of what you can do to make sure your family is prepared for anything. For more information, find a detailed plan from FEMA and the Red Cross here, check out the American Red Cross website and find more details on tips for people with specific disabilities at Ready.gov.

Did we miss anything? Do you have any must-have tips or resources? Let us know!