Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Disaster Preparedness for Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities need to be prepared to quickly escape their homes in the event of emergencies such as fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, a Mayo Clinic expert says.

Preparations for persons with disabilities are more complicated than people without disabilities.
“As we learned during Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, persons with disabilities need to consider a number of different factors, such as identifying who is in their support system, special transportation needs and what supplies to include in their emergency-preparedness kits,” clinical nurse specialist Lisa Beck said in a Mayo news release.

Beck worked with patients with disabilities to design patient-education materials, and she offers the following tips for people with disabilities:
  • Practice getting out of the house quickly at least twice a year.
  • Discuss any special needs with a local emergency-medical-services provider.
  • Plan where to go for shelter and how to get there, and who may need to provide you with assistance.
  • Compile an emergency-preparedness kit that can last 24 to 48 hours. It should include items such as medication lists, contact numbers, medications, catheter supplies and a first-aid kit.
  • Think about shelter and supplies for your service animal.
More information
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has more about emergency planning and preparedness for people with disabilities.

SOURCES: Mayo Clinic