The best way to deal with disasters is to learn about and think through the challenges you may face if you could not use your home or your personal belongings.
Some emergency situations require that you evacuate your home with little or no warning and move to a shelter or a designated site.
By planning ahead, you can make sure you are ready to leave home with your most essential items, on a few moments notice.
Create a Personal Support Network
A personal support network, or self-help team, can help you prepare for a disaster. Your network should include people you know and trust and who can check on you within minutes to see if you need help.
Neighbours are often the closest and most available contacts in an emergency. At home, work, school, or in the community, your support team should help you identify and secure resources and assess your needs before, during, and after a disaster.
To be better prepared to help you, your network members should have copies of your personal disaster preparation plan for your home, your emergency contact list, and your medical information list.
Do not rely on just one person, have at least three people trained in your network. Be ready to give brief, clear, specific instructions and directions to rescue personnel or write them down on note cards with supplies.
Remember to keep copies of your contact lists with you to assist in your rescue and care following a disaster. Label your vital equipment with your name and contact information, as well as specific operating instructions.
Be sure to instruct members of your network on how to operate and maintain your equipment.
Personal Disaster Preparation
Make an emergency information list that includes:
- Medical and emergency contact information;
- Emergency out-of-area contacts, outside the potential disaster area;
- Names and numbers of everyone in your network; and
- Make a medical information list that includes:
- Medical provider information, including your doctor's name and number and your insurance policy information and numbers.
Attach copies of prescriptions, insurance cards and related information to your medical lists.
- Medications and dosages being taken—remember to update this information.
- Specific medical conditions.
- Physical limitations.
- Adaptive equipment and vendors' phone numbers.
- Allergies or sensitivities.
Emergency Preparedness Kits
Basic Emergency Supplies Kit
Make an emergency supplies kit that contains your basic emergency supplies for your home, as well as your personal needs supplies.
First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit that includes any and all medical supplies you need on a daily basis. Include a first aid textbook.
Disability Related Supplies and Other Equipment
List the specific supplies and equipment you may need. Be sure to note where you store these items and operation and maintenance instructions. Disability related supplies should be part of your basic supplies kit as well as part of your "go kit."
Portable "Go Kit"
Get a drawstring bag, a pouch with lots of pockets, a fanny pack, or a small backpack and keep it within reach, by your chair, wheelchair, scooter, or other assistive device.
Your "Go Kit" should include a copy of your emergency and medical information and your support network contact information and doctors.
Include a small flashlight; a whistle or noise maker; water; extra medication and copies of your prescriptions; an extra pair of glasses; a hearing aid; a pad and pencil or other writing device; and a pair of heavy work gloves for protection from glass and other debris.
Developed by NFPA. Funding provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness.