If you have a disability or condition that requires specific accommodations, you may want a family member or friend to help make a plan for evacuating safely in the event of an impending hurricane.
Many lists are published giving basic items to be sure to take if you need to evacuate. See Disaster Supply Kit (la.gov) or Individuals with Disabilities | Ready.gov. You will need to add items to that list to fit your particular situation.
Each individual knows the most about their own access and functional needs. That’s why FEMA specialists are encouraging that hurricane preparation be done by or in conjunction with the person with a disability or functional need.
Know What Equipment is Needed
Carefully consider any equipment that is required to maintain your health and mobility. If you must leave home, there may be portable equipment that will be lighter and easier to pack that could do for a few days, such as a lightweight manual wheelchair. Packing cords for a C-PAP machine, test strips, oxygen monitors or other vital accessories means you’ll have it when you need it. Supplies for a service animal will make your preparations complete.
Think about the people you know; neighbors, friends or volunteers who agree to be available to assist you in an emergency if a family member or regular care giver cannot be there. Additional help can come from someone living close by who has a key to the house, knows how to use any medical or mobility equipment, and is familiar with the location and dosage of medications.
Dialysis, Physical Therapy or Other Systematic Required Treatment
Learn from your usual provider what their procedures will be in an emergency. If your evacuation plan requires relocating, know where providers are located and if they accept your insurance.
Customize Your Kit
If you depend on them, be sure to include glasses, hearing aids, batteries/chargers, and written prescriptions. People know what they need, but putting it on a list helps make sure something you require won’t left behind.
It is important that each person acts as their own emergency manager. Doing a little every day to be prepared is empowering and gives you better control over the outcome.
For additional tips, A FEMA video to help with preparation, including American Sign Language can be viewed here: Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Other Access and Functional Needs - YouTube. More information on how to prepare for a hurricane is available at Ready.gov.
Follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6.