Disaster Preparedness: Plan for those with special needs

In the last post, “Disaster Preparedness: Planning for medically dependent sheltering,” we talked about how to register for a medically dependent evacuation center. In this post, we’ll look at how to prepare if someone you know has a special need or needs.

screenshot of American Red Cross emergency preparedness web page. [CREDIT: American Red Cross]
Screenshot of American Red Cross emergency preparedness web page. [CREDIT: American Red Cross]
There are good resources to help you prepare, such as the American Red Cross and the Sarasota County medical needs shelter page. And, for information on how to prepare for a disaster for people with access and functional needs, visit floridadisaster.org/getaplan and start your planning today and don’t wait for a storm to develop.

Floridadisaster.org recommends the following to help plan for a disaster.

  • Create a network. Include neighbors, friends, relatives and even co-workers to help in an emergency, but make sure to discuss your needs in advance so that everyone knows what is needed and how to operate necessary equipment.
  • Have a discussion with your employer to let them know your needs and your plan.
  • If the person is mobility impaired and lives or works in a multi-story building, have an escape chair, and, again, communicate your plan with family, friends and your employer.
  • If the person is in a multi-story apartment, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly and to arrange to help you leave the premises. You might try a trial run to be sure the plan works.
  • Keep a bag ready. Plan on packing extra wheelchair batteries, catheters, oxygen, medications, food their service animal, and any other necessary items that are important to their health.
  • If medications require refrigeration, plan ahead on how you will handle these supplies.
  • If oxygen is used, check with the supplier about emergency plans.
  • Create a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devises the individual uses. Add to the list important phone numbers, including healthcare provider and out-of-town family members.
  • Talk to the individual’s healthcare provider about the plans, and register in advance if the individual plans to shelter at a medical needs evacuation center.

The key point is to start creating a plan early, and communicate that plan with neighbors, friends, relatives, housing manager and healthcare providers.  Creating a plan and taking care of all the details takes time, but those efforts just might save your life.

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Posted: September 23, 2022


Category: Disaster Preparation, Work & Life
Tags: Disaster, Disaster Prep, Medical, Pgm_FCS, Preparedness, Shelter, Special Needs


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