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Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities

The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today. While each person's abilities and needs are unique, every individual can take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. Preparing makes sense for people with disabilities, other with access and functional needs. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you can be better prepared.

Step 1 - Make a Plan

The reality of a disaster situation is that you will likely not have access to everyday conveniences. To plan in advance, think through the details of your everyday life. If there are people who assist you on a daily basis, list who they are, and how you will contact them in an emergency. Think about what modes of transportation you use and what alternative modes could serve as back-ups. If you require handicap accessible transportation be sure your alternatives are also accessible. Keep a copy of your plan in your emergency kit. Your plan should include how you will contact family members.

Step 2 - Prepare a Kit

The first step is to plan to make it on your own for at least three days. It is crucial that you and your family think about what kinds of resources you use on a daily basis. Always keep copies of important documentation in waterproof container. Your kit should include:

Basic Supplies: Think first about the basics for survival - food, water, clean air and any life-sustaining items you require. See our complete list of basic supplies.

Medications and Medical Supplies: If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have what you need on hand to make it on your own for at least a week. You should also keep a copy of your prescriptions as well as dosage or treatment information. If you are unable to have a week-long supply of medication or require routine treatments, contact your service provider and pharmacist on how to best prepare.

If you undergo routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or if you receive regular services at home such as home health care, meals, oxygen or door -to -door transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans. Work with them to identify back-up service providers within your area and the areas you might evacuate to. If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity to operate, talk to your health care provider about what you can do to prepare for its use during a power outage.

Additional Items: In addition, there may be other things specific to your personal needs that you should also have on hand. If you use eyeglasses, hearing aids and hearing aid batteries, wheelchair batteries, and oxygen, be sure you always have extras in your home.

Step 3 - Be Informed

It is important to stay informed about what might happen and the different types of emergencies that could affect you. Be prepared to adapt this information to your personal circumstance. Follow instructions received from authorities on the scene, and stay calm.