BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – September is National Preparedness Month and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency with the Federal Emergency Management Agency urge all individuals, including people with disabilities, to take the time to plan for survival for at least 72 hours whether at home, in a shelter, or elsewhere in the event of an actual emergency.
The Governor’s Office on Disability encourages people to consider all the strategies, services, devices, tools and techniques they use to live with a disability on a daily basis. Keep in mind that you may need medications, durable medical equipment, consumable medical supplies, your service animal, assistive technology, communications tools, disability service providers, accessible housing, transportation and health-related items.
To plan, think through the details of your everyday life. If there are people who assist you on a daily basis, list who they are and how you will contact them in an emergency. Create your own personal support network by identifying others who will help you in an emergency.
Depending on your needs, items for your go kit, besides the basic food, water, first aid kit, and battery-powered flashlight, may include extra eyeglasses, hearing aids if you have them or coverage for them, battery chargers and extra batteries for hearing aids, motorized wheelchairs, or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices and copies of medical prescriptions, doctors orders, and the style and serial numbers of the support devices you use.
There should be back-up plans for personal assistance services, hospice or other forms of in-home assistance. In addition, wearing medical alert tags or bracelets that identify your disability can be a crucial aid in an emergency situation.
If you receive federal disability benefits, register your bank account information in advance with the U.S. Department of the Treasury online at www.GoDirect.org so you can continue to access your money during an emergency. Keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. For those who depend on the mail for their Social Security benefits, a difficult situation can become worse if you are evacuated or lose your mail service, as shown by recent disasters.
For more information on emergency preparedness and disabilities, visit the AEMA website at www.Ema.Alabama.gov, the Governor’s Office on Disability website at www.Good.State.AL.us, or National Preparedness Month’s websites www.Ready.gov and www.Listo.gov or call the toll-free numbers 1-800-BE-READY, TTY 1-800-462-7585 and 1-888-SE-LISTO. You can also text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to sign up to receive monthly disaster safety tips on your mobile phone.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585 directly; if you...