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Disability Action Center NW


November 02, 2019 at 1:00 am |

Disasters affect everyone.

But a disaster’s impact on people with disabilities may be compounded by factors like reliance on electrical power, as well as accessible transportation and accessible shelters.

A free workshop will offer people with disabilities individualized help to develop an emergency plan on Tuesday.

The workshop is a partnership between Disability Action Center Northwest and Idaho State Plan for Independent Living.

Michelle Porter, an Independent Living Advocate at Disability Action Center, said the recent power shutdown in California highlighted the importance of knowing what to do in an emergency, especially for people who rely on medical equipment or have specific mobility needs.

Electricity is needed to run live-saving equipment like oxygen tanks, dialysis equipment and C-Pap machines.

“It hits the disabled and elderly the hardest and can lead to having to decide whether to use your remaining battery life for your electric wheelchair or heart monitor,” Porter said.

Though friends, family and caregivers of disabled people are welcome to attend, the workshop is specifically designed to meet the needs of disabled residents.

“We’re dialing in on that particular population that faces barriers,” Vicki Leeper of Disability Action Center Northwest said.

Participants will receive individualized help to build an emergency plan that fits their needs. For example, individuals who rely on service animals may need to consider what to do with their animal in an emergency, while a person with mobility issues should determine how they’ll get to a shelter and if the shelter is accessible to them.

“There’s a whole assessment,” Leeper said. “Then you build a plan.”

Participants will also receive an emergency supply starter kit.

The workshop is 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Kootenai County Fire and Rescue Training Center, 5271 E. Seltice Way, Post Falls.