Evacuation Planning for Those with Special Needs
Day-to-day life for someone with special needs can be challenging; facing an emergency evacuation may present even greater challenges. If you or a loved one has particular physical or other special needs, proper planning is imperative.
Some things to consider:
- Make sure medications are easily accessible and properly labeled. Some people prefer to put their medications in an am/pm medicine box so they know when to take their meds. If that box is lost or caregivers are separated, make sure there are ample back up medications in their original containers.
- Make sure prescriptions are up to date and there are enough refills so if you arrive in an unfamiliar place, a new pharmacy will be able to fill that prescription.
- Be sure medical equipment is close at hand and ready to go. Is your wheelchair accessible to you at all times? Do you have sturdy blankets or other accessories if you need to be carried over rubble or an uneven ground surface? Do you know the serial number of your medical equipment so you can be reunited with it if it is separated from you? Do you know the manufacturer and name of your particular equipment so you can be given the new/right equipment if yours is lost or damaged?
- Have you checked the batteries on any equipment you may need? Do you need to have back up batteries in case of a power failure?
- Plan your escape route and practice it. How will you get there? Your family car? A friend or neighbor’s car? A bus? Wheel trans? Where will you need to go? Is the shelter accessible? If not, should you have a chat with whomever owns the building?
- Is there a special diet you are following? Do you have at least three days worth of that food and any accompaniments you may need? ie. distilled water, special milk, special supplement?
- Are there special personal sanitary or other medical products you should have on hand?
- Is there an easily understood, written list of your particular medications and needs that can be read and followed by someone who may not personally know you?
Thinking about and planning for an emergency is important for everyone. Planning for one’s special needs in an emergency situation is not to be overlooked.