Individuals with functional needs should prepare for an emergency just like everyone else. You can take small steps every day to become better prepared for a disaster or emergency.
The key to your safety is staying informed, making a plan and practicing the following steps:
- Create a network of emergency contacts, including friends, family or neighbors, who can assist during an emergency. If you need special assistance with medical equipment, share and practice these details with your network.
- Stock your Go Bag with four days worth of essentials including non-perishable food, water, first aid kit, flashlight, cell phone and a blanket. Also include the following:
- Medical supplies you use regularly, including canes, glasses, extra oxygen or insulin.
- Extra batteries for hearing aids or chargers for motorized wheelchairs.
- Copies of medical insurance cards and physician contact information.
- Prescriptions and dosage details.
- Make sure someone has a copy of your key and knows where you keep your go bag.
- Plan an evacuation route for home, work, school and other locations. Map out ramps and emergency exits. Contact building management for more information on how to safely evacuate.
- Consider the needs of your service animal, make them a part of your evacuation plan and stock your go bag with their food and supplies.
- Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your needs in case of an emergency.
- Learn about devices and other technology available (text alerts or pagers) that send emergency warnings and instructions you might not otherwise hear or see.
- If you are dependent on life-sustaining equipment or treatment, familiarize yourself with the locations of alternate hospitals and facilities.
- Contact your local emergency management office, where they may maintain a voluntary registry of people with special needs.