Being prepared for emergencies can reduce the fear, panic, and inconvenience surrounding a disaster.
Check for hazards in the home
During and right after a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury or damage. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause fire is a home hazard.
Check for items such as bookcases, hanging pictures, or overhead lights that could fall in an earthquake or a flood and block an escape path.
Be ready to evacuate
Have a plan for getting out of your home or building (ask your family or friends for assistance, if necessary). Also, plan two evacuation routes because some roads may be closed or blocked in a disaster.
Have disaster supplies on hand
Maintain a list of the following important items and store it with your disaster kit supplies. Give a copy to another family member and a friend or neighbor.
Build your network
Create a self-help network of relatives, friends or co-workers to assist in an emergency.
If you think you may need assistance in a disaster, discuss your disability with relatives, friends, and co-workers and ask for their help. For example, if you need help moving or require special arrangements to receive emergency messages, make a plan with friends.
Make sure they know where you keep emergency supplies. Give a key to a neighbor or friend who may be able to assist you in a disaster.
Wearing medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability may help in case of an emergency.
Know the location and availability of more than one facility if you are dependent on a dialysis machine or other life-sustaining equipment or treatment.
If you have a severe speech, language, or hearing disability:
Planning for evacuation
People with disabilities have the same choices as other community residents about whether to evacuate their homes and where to go when an emergency threatens.
Listen to the advice of local officials. Decide whether it is better to leave the area, stay with a friend or go to a public shelter. Each of these decisions requires planning and preparation.
If you need a wheelchair
Show friends how to operate your wheelchair so they can move you if necessary. Make sure your friends know the size of your wheelchair in case it has to be transported.