Addressing Individual Access and Functional Needs
Every person has unique needs, but regardless of individual challenges, everyone can take small and simple steps to prepare for emergencies. Take time to assess personal needs and develop an individualized plan.
Planning for emergencies today makes it possible to handle future emergencies.
If family members or friends are disabled or have other special needs, develop a plan for assisting them.
Learn about public and private assistance programs offered in the community. Register with non-profit organizations, government agencies, and local fire departments as soon as possible since emergencies can occur without notice. Notify these organizations of any personal or family special needs and learn about offered services.
The following are individuals requiring extra or special assistance:
- Assess how a natural disaster or other emergency would affect you personally.
- Plan to be as self-sufficient as possible. During emergencies, stores often become closed for short periods of time and public services become unavailable.
- Determine the resources you utilize daily and consider what you’d do if these resources were unavailable.
- Develop an with your special needs in mind. Consider what resources are necessary to remain safe, independent, and healthy.
- Hearing-impaired individuals requiring services to receive emergency notifications.
- People who do not speak English and single parents working multiple jobs often require assistance during emergencies. Church and non-profit organizations offer many services for these individuals.
- Individuals without cars and access to other forms of transportation.
- Diabetics and people with other special dietary needs must make preparations to ensure they have medications and enough food to survive during an emergency.
Plan to Be Self Sufficient
During emergency preparations, consider all necessary services, technology, and strategies utilized on a daily basis to function. Many people with disabilities rely on mediations, service animals, communication devices, transportation services, assistive technology, and other tools to function day-to-day.
Remember that during a disaster you might have to explain to emergency personnel that you need to evacuate your home with a family member, care giver, or service animal together since you rely on them for safety, health, and other needs.
- Establish a support network that you can depend on during an emergency. This network could include relatives, friends, neighbors, work colleagues, church friend s, social workers, and others. Notify individuals in your support network where emergency supplies and medications are stored. Provide one of these individuals with an apartment or house key.
- Arrange a meeting with local emergency information management agencies to discuss special needs and collaborate with during disaster preparation.
- If you rely on dialysis or other medical treatments to sustain your life, identify multiple facilities where these services are provided and work with medical providers to prepare for emergencies.
- Teach relatives and friends how to operate special medical technology and other assistive equipment.
- Place contact information of emergency services and disability services organizations in an accessible location. Likewise, if you’ve made arrangements with government agencies and other organizations, make records of these arrangements.
- If you utilize Life Alert, Meals-on-Wheels, and other home support services, collaborate with these organizations while developing individualized disaster preparation plans. This could save your life in the event of an emergency.
- Arrange meetings with disability transportation service providers to prepare in advance for home evacuations during an emergency.
- Additional glasses, hearing aids, or other assistive devices.
- Additional batteries and battery chargers for motorized wheelchairs, hearing aids, and other battery powered assistive devices.
- Copies of physician orders, medical prescriptions, and other necessary medical documents.
- In case you become incapacitated or unable to speak, always wear medical alert bracelets or tags, so medical personal can assist you immediately.
- Service animal supplies.
- Medicare/Medicaid cards, Medical insurance cards, doctor contact info, and documents detailing health history and allergies.
- A document listing government agencies and non-profit organizations that provide assistance to people with special needs.
- A list of phone numbers of family members and friends to contact during an emergency.
- A personal communication sheet to communicate to others if you become incapacitated or unable to speak.
- Extra insulin, medicine, catheters, and other medical supplies if possible.
- If you depend on a motorized wheelchair, an extra wheelchair that can be stored and transported easily.
- Store important medical and personal information on a flash drive.