NEWS from Idaho SILC

What? You say you don’t have a plan?

Fire season gives us striking sunsets and warm winds. It increases challenges for people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and allergies. During the Coronavirus health emergency, it may increase anxiety and fear in a year where we have all had enough.
    In urban areas, the heat and smoke may be the biggest seasonal challenge, especially once we clear the mid-July random, fireworks season. People who live in rural areas or on the edge of town – places more prone to fire, face potential fires close to home where they may get little notice that they need to evacuate. This is a good time to review and update your emergency and evacuation plans.
    Many of us manage nearly every minute of our day based on what we can do alone and what requires the help or support of family, friends or paid assistance. We know where the accessible entrances, parking spaces and bathrooms are located. We know what environments are likely to trigger our anxiety, depression or PTSD. We know what places, people and events are and aren’t worth our trouble based on our current physical, mental and emotional energy levels. Though it’s a lot of work, we do it without thinking, living our lives in the places and ways we choose.
    Yet through all our conscious and unconscious day to day planning, we aren’t prepared for an emergency, either because j we’re convinced it won’t happen, the thought is too much to grasp or a combination of both. Sure, we’ve developed enviable back-up plans for when staff don’t show, medications  aren’t refilled or the battery on our chair dies. We also avoid places and activities that fall outside the range of what we can physically, emotionally and mentally manage in any given day. And while all that is true for most people, not just people with disabilities, we exert much more control over our orbit than people who don’t need to think much about a room’s lighting, noise level or physical access. Add COVID to the mix and thinking about a potential fire or other emergency may be even more overwhelming.
    If you camp or day trip to one of Idaho’s scenic areas to escape the heat, people, the virus or simply because you love the outdoors, be aware of your surroundings. Know the roads in and out and have a plan to quickly break camp or leave it behind.
    It’s better to plan for a possible emergency at home or on the road, no matter how frightening. Like everything else we do, we can plan, include the people who love and support us, write it down and get ready.
    To learn more about preparing for an emergency, visit the Idaho SILC Emergency Preparedness webpage. We have forms that can help you write your plan. Contact the SILC or your local CIL to talk with someone about how you can be prepared.