Helping People with Disabilities In Disaster Areas

Helping people with disabilities in disaster areas.  With the recent Tsunami that occurred in Indonesia, this is a question on most disabled individuals minds:

“How can disabled people prepare for a natural disaster?”

FEMA and The Red Cross published a booklet to help people with disabilities in disaster-prone areas.

Here are a few tips from the booklet for helping people with disabilities:

  • Network – creating a support network will help people with disabilities gain assistance when a natural disaster occurs and after.
  • Trustworthy Support – network members who are family, friends and even coworkers that will help in challenging conditions.
  • Power Savvy – learning how to connect and start up a power supply eg. a portable electrical generator for important medical equipment.
  • Medi-alert – system that will allow persons with a disability call for assistance using a cell phone or pager.
  •  Backup manual wheelchair – if you are using an electric scooter or wheelchair.
  •  Backup equipment – stored at a neighbors house, school or workplace.
  • Giving Instructions – to support network that will help in an emergency operate equipment. Label equipment and attach laminated instructions for usage.
  • Multiple people checking in – before, during and after an emergency – back-up is key.
  • If deaf or blind- organize a support person that can translate emergency details and warnings.
  • If using a caretaker from an agency – make sure they are prepared for emergencies such as evacuation and services.
  • Exit areas – in your apartment building that are clearly marked. Ask the apartment manager to do so if there aren’t any evacuation systems for disabled people in place.
  • Extra cell phone – charged up and ready so you can let someone know you need assistance.  Keep first response number handy in case 911 is overloaded.
  • Make preparations for rescue team – with clear instructions using a word board or printed phrases.
  • Emotional support – by support network is imperative during natural disasters as confusion and panic will set in.  Make sure the network you have chosen is prepared enough to handle such as best they can.

Helping people with disabilities in disaster areas