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September is Emergency Preparedness Month. With local fires happening, and the scope of the recent hurricane in New Orleans, being prepared to evacuate at a moments notice is important. And for people with a disability, you need to make a comprehensive and complete plan. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.
Step 1) Put a plan together, and who can be involved in helping you.
1. Are you signed up to receive emergency alerts?
2. What is your shelter plan? Where will you go? Is it accessible?
3. How will you get there? You will need reliable and accessible transportation.
4. What is your communication plan? Cell phone towers may be down, and electricity out.
5. Do you have an emergency bug out kit ready? Include medicines, batteries, pet food, important papers and numbers, etc.
6. Check with shelters for emergency plans around COVID. Have masks and sanitizer ready.
Step 2) Be precise in your specific needs. Do you have what you need for daily living? Include people in your network who may need to assist. Things to consider:
1. Dietary needs
2. Medical needs, prescriptions and equipment
3. Devices and equipment needed for access
4. Language and communication barriers
5. Cultural and religious considerations
6. Pets or service animals
7. School aged children
Discuss your plan with assistants, family and neighbors. And have a back up plan to your back up plan.
You can download and fill out an emergency plan or just use it as a guide to create your own.
And start now to prepare your bug out kit. Here is a downloadable and printable checklist version to help you.