For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory, or
cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods, or acts of
terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenges also apply to
the elderly and other special needs populations. Protecting yourself
and your family when disaster strikes requires planning ahead.
If you have a special need (hearing/speaking impaired, limited or no mobility, non-English speaking, etc.) you should discuss ideas with your family, friends, and/or your personal care attendant, or anyone else in your support network, to prepare an emergency plan.
If you have special needs:
A personal support network (sometimes called a self-help team) can help you
prepare for a disaster. They can do this by helping you identify and
get the resources you need to cope effectively. Network members can
also assist you after a disaster happens.
Organize a network that includes your home, school, workplace, volunteer site, and any other places where you spend a lot of time. Members of your network can be roommates, relatives, neighbors, friends, and/or co-workers. They should be people you trust and who can check to see if you need assistance. They should know your capabilities and needs, and be able to provide help within minutes.
Do not depend on only one person. Include a minimum of three people in your network for each location where you regularly spend a lot of time, since people work different shifts, take vacations, and are not always available.
Decide what you will be able to do for yourself and what assistance you may
need before, during, and after a disaster. This will be based on the
environment after the disaster, your capabilities, and your limitations.
To complete a personal assessment, make a list of your personal needs and your resources for meeting them in a disaster environment. Think about the following questions and note your answers in writing or record them on a tape cassette that you will share with your network. These answers should describe both your current capabilities and the assistance you will need. Base your planning on your lowest anticipated level of functioning.
Special Needs Personal Assessment