By starting with commonsense measures, people with disabilities and their caregivers can begin now to prepare for an emergency before it happens. Some people with disabilities may need to incorporate additional steps in their Ready Boston Emergency Communications Plan and include additional items in their Ready Boston Household Emergency Kit Checklist and Go-Bag. It is important to recognize that you may not have access to places such as medical facilities and pharmacies during an emergency. By thinking ahead now of what you would do without your critical everyday needs you can plan accordingly for what you would do if those resources are limited or not available.It is important to plan now how you would communicate to others you are in need of assistance or just to let others know you are okay. By starting with the basic Household Emergency Communications Plan and thinking through your daily routine you will realize the steps you need to take to ensure you have a solid communications plan.
- Create a personal support network. This may be comprised of family, friends, and others who would be able to offer you assistance if needed during an emergency. Include one out of town person; if they are not affected by the emergency they may be more capable to assist you. Be sure to talk to these people in advance of an actual emergency. Let them know your emergency communications plan, where you intend to go during an emergency, how you intend to evacuate, where you keep your emergency supplies, and make sure someone in your network has a spare key to your home.
- If you need to evacuate and require handicap accessible transportation be sure you have alternative modes of transportation planned and that they are also accessible. Start to make the arrangements now.
- If you are dependent on medication, oxygen, batteries for a wheelchair or hearing aid keep a supply in your Household Emergency Kit and, if possible, in your Go-Bag. Know the expiration dates and rotate the medications as needed.
- If you have tools or aids specific to your disability, plan how you could cope without them. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure.
- If there is any information related to operating equipment or life-saving devices that you rely on, include those in your emergency kit as well. Make sure a family member or friend has copies of these documents.
- Incorporate these additional steps to your basic Emergency Household Communications Plan, keep a copy of your plan in your emergency kit, and go bag, and be sure to share the plan with your family, friends, care providers, and personal support network.
- Inform your employer and co-workers about your disability and let them know what assistance you will need in an emergency.
- If you are dependent on a service animal know that they are allowed into a shelter.