For the millions of Americans who have physical, medical, sensory or cognitive disabilities, emergencies such as fires, floods and acts of terrorism present a real challenge. The same challenge also applies to the elderly and other special needs populations.
Protecting yourself and your family when disaster strikes requires planning ahead. Where will you, your family, your friends or personal care attendants be when an emergency or disaster strikes? You, and those you care about, could be anywhere – at home, work, school or in transit. How will you find each other? Will you know your loved ones will be safe?Emergencies and disasters can strike quickly and without warning and can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.
You are in the best position to plan for your own safety as you are best able to know your possible needs during and after an emergency or disaster situation. With your family and care attendants, you will need to create a personal support network and complete a personal assessment. Knowing what to do is your best protection and your responsibility. The American Red Cross, in conjunction with FEMA, has developed a comprehensive guide to Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs to assist with you in creating a plan to fit your needs.