Maybe you have been in a potentially disastrous situation before, or maybe you haven’t. Either way, there is nothing more important than being prepared. It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know where to meet, how to find each other following a disaster, and how to communicate in an emergency that works for your family’s specific communication needs. If being without access to medications, help, or other services you need to maintain your health, safety and independence for even a couple of hours or days could be devastating, and you need to be prepared more than ever. Many people who are elderly or have some type of disability are at even more of a disadvantage when disaster strikes.
Your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today. It is SO important to advocate including people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into emergency planning in your community. They may need help from you and from the community not only to plan but to put their plan into action should disaster strike. This guide provides tips which individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, and the people who assist and support them, can take to prepare for emergencies before they happen.
With September being National Preparedness Month, it’s time to get prepared, if you haven’t already. The task might seem daunting at first, but there are some great resources out there to help you get started and be ready when disaster strikes.
Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage to coastlines and several hundred miles inland. Hurricane can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these weather events. These are not situations you want to go into unprepared!
Everyone is different. Different families have different needs and likely different definitions of what being prepared looks like. You need to be informed about potential emergencies and disasters where you live, work, or visit. Then, you can go about making a plan that fits you and your loved ones. Plan how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community.
Think about you, your family, and what your needs might be. As you are planning, also consider anyone you might know, friends, family, or someone in your community who might have a disability and need your assistance in planning and executing a disaster plan. This list will give you some ideas on how you can help.
Ready.Gov has a full page of information on how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do during a hurricane, and how to handle the devastation once the hurricane has passed. This is a perfect place to begin preparing your family for impending disaster. Even if the hurricane didn’t create a big disaster, wouldn’t it be a relief to have been prepared anyway?
First, you need to be informed about potential emergencies and disasters where you live, work, or visit. Then, you can go about making a plan that fits you and your loved ones.
Make a Plan
Making a family emergency communication plan with your friends and family before a disaster occurs is important. Why? Because it will help you answer questions: how will you get in touch with each other? How will your family get to a safe place? It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know where to meet, how to find each other following a disaster, and how to communicate in an emergency that works for your family’s specific communication needs.
Build a Kit
While each person’s abilities and needs vary everyone can take steps to prepare for all types of emergencies. By evaluating your own individual needs and making an emergency plan that ﬁts those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. For example, if being without access to medications, help, or other services you need to maintain your health, safety and independence for even a couple of hours or days could be devastating, and you need to be prepared more than ever.
People with disabilities are encouraged to take a seat at their community and local government- level planning tables. Planning for emergencies and disasters with people who have disabilities and others with access and functional needs rather than planning for them will allow us to understand and address the needs of the whole community in a disaster.
For a full list of help with making your plan, what you might need, and ideas to get you started, visit the Ready.Gov Make A Plan page. They have a huge list of resources, many of them are things you would probably never think you might need in a disaster situation.
Parents can even get the kids in on the disaster planning fun! Disasters affect everyone. So it takes everyone – youth, parents and community members – to help prepare. Ready.Gov has some great resources to help get your kids involved!
Now you are ready! Grab up the family and get started on your emergency and disaster plan! To get more information on how to make a family emergency communication plan, build a disaster supply kit or to learn how to get involved in community preparedness, please visit Ready.gov/MyPlan.