In less than a month fall will be here, but those of us living near coastlines still have plenty of time left for hurricanes season. And with Tropical Storm Erika headed our way, it’s more important than ever to become prepared, just in case! September is National Preparedness Month, so here are some great resources to help you get started to prepare what to do when a storm strikes.
Do you have a plan in place for your family? Do you know where to meet, how to find each other following a disaster, and how to communicate if there’s an emergency? Do you have access to medications, help, or other services you need to maintain your health? Many people who are elderly or have some type of disability are at more of a disadvantage when disaster strikes. Your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today!
It’s also important to become advocates for those with disabilities and others with functional needs during emergency situations. They may need help from the community not only to plan, but to put their plan into action should disaster strike. This guide provides tips for those individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs.
Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage not only to coastlines, but can stretch several hundred miles inland. Hurricanes can produce winds exceeding 155 miles per hour, as well as tornadoes and mircrobursts. Floods and flying debris from the excessive winds are often the deadly and destructive results of these storms.
Every family has different needs and likely different definitions of what being prepared looks like. Please be informed about potential emergencies and disasters where you live, work, or visit. Then, plan how to stay safe and communicate during the disasters that can affect your community. Think about you, your family, and what your needs might be. As you are planning, also consider anyone you might know, friends, family, or someone in your community who might have a disability and need your assistance in planning and executing a disaster plan. This list will give you some ideas on how you can help.
Ready.Gov has a full page of information on how to prepare for a hurricane, what to do during a hurricane, and how to handle the devastation once the hurricane has passed. This is a perfect place to begin preparing your family for impending disaster. Even if the hurricane didn’t create a chaos, wouldn’t it be a relief to have been prepared anyway?
First, be informed about potential emergencies and disasters where you live, work, or visit. Then, make a plan that fits you and your loved ones.
Make a Plan
Making a family emergency communication plan with your friends and family before a disaster occurs is important. Why? Because it will help you answer questions: how will you get in touch with each other? How will your family get to a safe place? It’s important to make a plan now so that you will know where to meet, how to find each other following a disaster, and how to communicate in an emergency that works for your family’s specific communication needs.
Build a Kit
While each person’s abilities and needs vary, everyone can take steps to prepare for all types of emergencies. By evaluating your own individual needs and making an emergency plan that ﬁts those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. For example, if being without access to medications, help, or other services you need to maintain your health, safety and independence for even a couple of hours or days could be devastating, then make a kit with extras.
People with disabilities are encouraged to take a seat at their community and local government- level planning tables. Planning for emergencies and disasters with people who have disabilities and others with access and functional needs rather than planning for them will allow us to understand and address the needs of the whole community in a disaster.
For a full list of help with making your plan, what you might need, and ideas to get you started, visit the Ready.Gov Make A Plan page. They have a huge list of resources, many of them are things you would probably never think you might need in a disaster situation.
Parents can even get the kids in on the disaster planning fun! Disasters affect everyone. So it takes everyone – youth, parents and community members – to help prepare. Ready.Gov has some great resources to help get your kids involved!
Now you are ready! Grab up the family and get started on your emergency and disaster plan! To get more information on how to make a family emergency communication plan, build a disaster supply kit or to learn how to get involved in community preparedness, please visit Ready.gov/MyPlan.