Knowing what to do and where to go during an emergency can determine how well you recover once it’s over. Individuals with disabilities and other access and functional needs can prepare for an emergency by being informed, making a communications plan, and building an emergency kit.

Being Informed

Start to prepare for an emergency by knowing what types of emergencies are common in your area. You should also gather the contact information for your local emergency management agencies and keep them in your emergency kit.

In some areas, the local emergency management offices have registries for people with disabilities. Sometimes the registries are only used for emergency planning information and sometimes they are used to provide specific help in emergencies. Be sure to know what your local agency offers and what you can expect when you join their registry.

Make Your Communications Plan

Disasters can cut off your communication with your family, friends, and coworkers. Have a few back up methods for contacting your support group in case of an emergency. It’s also good to let everyone in your network know how you plan to evacuate and where you will go.

It’s good to have a close friend or relative who lives nearby with a key to your home. Make sure they know where to find your emergency supplies. Teach friends and family how to use any ambulatory or medical equipment you use. If applicable, you should teach them how to use any lifesaving equipment or medicines as well.

Build and Emergency Kit

Every emergency kit should start with the most basic necessities. It should include food, water, air filtration, and first aid. You should plan to survive on your emergency kit for three days without assistance. You will also want to make sure your kit is portable and can be taken with you quickly if needed.

It is crucial to include enough supplies for all your medical needs in your kit. You will also want to include copies of your medical records, account numbers, family records, social security numbers, and other important documents in a waterproof container.