Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities

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disabilitiesTop 10 List of Steps to Get Ready for Emergencies for Parents/Guardians of Children with Disabilities/Special Health Care Needs

If you do nothing else to get ready, think about taking 10 key emergency preparedness steps:

1. Hold a Family Discussion. Talk to your family about emergencies. Pick a date to start getting ready.

2. Know about Likely Emergencies. Know what can happen in your area.

3. Build a Support Network. Pick friends, family, neighbors and others whom you might call on for help. Share your emergency plans with them.

4. Talk to Schools, Care and Service Providers. Talk to your child’s school, care and service providers about your child’s emergency needs and plans. Ask about their plans.

5. Find Likely Public Shelters.  Ask about possible shelters in the town in which you work. Write down the information and keep it in your “To Go” bag.

6. Get Supplies: Get 72 hours (3 days) worth of emergency supplies that your family might need. Have food, water, hygiene and medical supplies. Have things to distract your child. Keep the supplies in a special place. Make sure all family members know where the supplies are kept.

7. Fill out a Family Emergency Plan, such as the plan in the Emergency Readiness Toolkit for Parents of Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs: Share the Plan with your Support Network and 2 contacts outside the state. The Toolkit and Family Plan will be coming soon to the Shriver Center website. http://www.umassmed.edu/shriver/service/EP-resources-listfamilies.aspx

8. Make Your Home Safer: Make your home safer by installing smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher if you can. Contact your local fire department to learn to use them. Know how to turn off your water, gas, and electricity. Your utility company can show you how.

9. Get Back Up Equipment: Think about having “low tech” backups. Your child might use paper communication boards as a backup for an electronic communication device. Think about backup power sources such as a generator or car charger to power a wheelchair battery. Keep extra batteries and chargers on hand. Speak with vendors about backup power.

10. Build Back Ups Into Your Plan: Build backups into your plan. Do not depend on only one person, place or process. For example, think of two different hospitals that might meet your child’s needs. If you couldn’t reach one you might go to the other. Think about 2 sources for dialysis treatment. Think about 2 sources for diabetes or other key supplies. Think about 2 different people you could call on for help

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