NEWS from IDAHO SILC
Promoting Independent Living for all Idahoans
BEING PREPARED AND STAYING INDEPENDENT
With winter conditions quickly approaching, it’s a good time to think about being prepared for an emergency. Why prepare for a disaster or other emergency? By anticipating problems, you’ll be better equipped to face challenges. When you’re prepared for any situation, it’s easier to speak up for yourself and your needs.
People with disabilities already face barriers to accessing the community. Disasters make it even harder. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re prepared.
It’s important to remember during a local or large scale emergency, many if not all the systems you rely on won’t work, at least not immediately. Public transportation or road access may be closed. Pharmacies may not be open, or you may not be able to get there. Communication systems may not be working or reliable, including cell towers, phone lines, and internet access. There are four steps to being prepared:
Personal Assessment: The first thing to do is to think about what you’ll need if you have to evacuate, or if you’re at home for several days and can’t leave.
Assistance Technology: What (and how much) assistive technology, durable medical equipment, or medical supplies will you need?
Service Animals: If you have one, do you have extra food and water? If you evacuate to a shelter, remember that all you need to tell anyone is that this is your service animal and that you have a disability, no need to say what it is. Be prepared to say how your animal helps you, what tasks it performs: guide, medication reminder, seizure alert, doorbell and phone notification, etc.
Evacuation: How do you access the community and ill it be available in an emergency? If not, how will you get out? Do you have neighbors, friends, family or service providers to help you leave? Have you made arrangements with them?
Independent Living: Do you need help in the home or when you travel? Often we can be quite independent in our own home, but how well can you manage out of your environment? Think about things like using the bathroom, transferring to and from bed, communicating with strangers. Can you do these things without help for a day, a week, two weeks or a month?
Emergency Plan: Hazards: A plan helps you identify the type of disaster that may occur near you; storms, flooding or fires. How will this emergency impact you and what do you need to be prepared?
Home Map: Create a map of you home that shows the location of your emergency supplies, evacuation plan and routes. It seems simple, but in an emergency we may not think quickly or clearly.
Communication Plan: This includes a list of emergency contacts and important information about you (medications, allergies, food preferences, etc) This should be written down, and not just on your phone or computer. Remember if the power is out, your phone might not be helpful.
Make a Kit: A go kit is unique to each individual and includes supplies that will help keep you safe for about 2 weeks. For more information go to the website below.
Be Informed: Knowing when a disaster is going to strike is an important part of being prepared. Sign up for alerts, follow social media pages, and join a local emergency preparedness group. Contact your County Emergency Management website for alerts and information.
Info and Training: For more info go to www.silc.idaho.gov/emergency-preparedness/. Or to schedule a workshop contact Idaho SILC at 208-334-3800.