These panels are charged with advising on public policies involving special needs populations, fostering understanding between the special needs community and the community at large and providing support and resources for those with special needs.
Local commissions on disabilities continue to work with emergency management experts on issues relating to disaster preparedness for special needs citizens.
- If you have physical limitations, build a personal support network of people who will check on you following an emergency.
- Try to maintain a three-day supply of your prescription medication. If you use oxygen, keep an emergency supply to last at least three days.
- Talk with your medical supply company about a backup power source if you use medical equipment requiring electrical power.
- If you use battery-powered or electronic mobility equipment, keep a manual wheelchair, canes, crutches and walkers as backups for use in an emergency.
- If you have a personal health aide, he or she may not be able to help you after a disaster. Talk with your
aide now about whether his or her agency has a plan for providing client services in an emergency.
- Keep a whistle handy in case you need to signal for help.
The American Red Cross has produced a comprehensive guide to disaster preparedness for people with special needs, including the elderly. You can view this booklet at https://www.redcross.org/services/disaster/beprepared/disability.pdf
In addition to the tips above, it's important to store "Shelter In Place" emergency supplies and food in the case that you wouldn't have help during or after a disaster. You should keep:
- An emergency supply of food
- Extra clean water and Water purification supplies
- An emergency supply for Lighting in the case of a power outage
- A Communication device such as a dynamo powered radio
- A First Aid Kit
There also may be cases where you will need to evacuate the area. It is essential that you have a fully-stocked 72-Hour-Kit ready for a "Grab-N-Go" emergency.
These are just a few items to consider, but probably the most important thing is that the more you are able to be self-reliant, the more you are likely to thrive during an emergency situation.