Billie and Robert Nicholson
September is Preparedness Month. Do you have an emergency 72-hour kit and a plan?
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 from fires and floods to potential terrorist attacks. By evaluating your own personal needs and making an emergency plan that fits those needs, you and your loved ones can be better prepared. For people with special needs disabilities, being prepared is a matter of life or death. If you are on your own, you need to have a plan.
The first step is to consider how an emergency might affect your individual needs. Think about a given day, what do you do, what do you need and who can help you? Work on a plan to make it on your own for at least three to five days. It is possible in an emergency that you will not have ready access to a medical facility or pharmacy. Basic supplies for survival include food, water and clean air. Consider assembling two kits. One to use at home and one to take with you if you have to leave home.
Recommended basic emergency supplies include:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener if kit contains canned food and where possible, extra medication.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries for any necessary electronic equipment
- First aid kit; a week’s supply of any prescription medicines; include copies of all prescriptions and dosage instructions; copies of medical insurance, Medicare and Medicaid cards; instruction for operating any equipment or life-saving devices you rely on
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Local maps
- Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag and supplies for your pet or service animal
Make a plan for what you will do in an emergency. Write it down and keep it with your emergency supply kit. For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure. Create a personal support network. Share your plans with them and make sure that someone in your support network has a key to your home and knows where you keep your emergency supplies. Practice it. Keep a list of network contact information in your wallet. If you need to evacuate, select a shelter that can accommodate your needs.
It’s important to stay informed about what might happen and know what types of emergencies are likely to affect your region. For more information about preparing for emergencies for people with disabilities, see here.
Billie and Robert Nicholson welcome your comments and questions. They can be reached at RustyBuggy.Inc@gmail.com