A Timely Conversation
A week ago last Saturday, as thousands of people evacuated their homes, fleeing California wildfires, the first reported fatality was a person with disabilities. Over the following days, her death sparked a conversation about emergency preparedness, specifically for people with disabilities, their family members, their caregivers, their neighbors, and their local emergency service providers.
Last Tuesday, Alice Wong of @DisVisibility hosted a twitter chat (click for the Storify version: #Prep4PWDs #NatlPrep), inviting people with disabilities (PwD) to share their experiences with disasters, emergency preparedness plans, tips for other PwD, and what they would like to see change in emergency services. Emergency service providers also shared resources to help families and individuals prepare for the unexpected.
Spinning off of that twitter chat, I’ve put together a list of things for you to think about as you prepare for possible emergencies and compiled a list of links to helpful resources.
Preparing for the unexpected
- Think about some of the common major emergencies for the location in which you live. In my area, that would include tornadoes, fire, flooding, and electricity outages during winter storms, possibly others.
- Select one item from the list above
- Jot down a list of the things you need to have available that are unique to your particular needs. Perhaps that includes backup batteries or solar-powered chargers.
- Ask yourself what your fears are in facing that kind of emergency.
- Now list things you can do to address those possibilities.
- Make a plan for how you’d handle that emergency. Ideas include: emergency kit in home and vehicles, stock prep. supplies for clean up and shelter/hygiene that are safe(r), hard-soled shoes and heavy-duty gas masks).
- Contact your local emergency services (fire, EMS, rescue), your power company, your local law enforcement officials, to explain your situation. While registries should not be relied upon as your primary emergency plan, they can be help local agencies provide services in the event of a disaster.
- Get to know your neighbors. While many PwD rely on family members to aid in times of emergencies, what about your neighbors — do you know who they are and how to get a hold of them quickly? Do you have social media connections that would be helpful (as in, local area connections)?
Helpful resources to aid in your preparation:
Katrina survivors share their experiences, and local resources share what changes they learned
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