Be Prepared!

Man in a wheelchair going though flood waters

As a resident of North Raleigh for all of my life, I have been through a few weather related emergencies.  Being in the midst of hurricane season –spanning from June 1 to November 30– has me thinking about emergency preparedness once again.  Most people don’t think about preparing for a natural disaster until it has nearly arrived, and of course some disasters cannot be anticipated at all.

Thinking back to your life, are you proactive or reactive when it comes to emergency preparedness? Emergencies are inevitably stressful and merely reacting can lead to poor communication and impulsive decision-making.  This blog is meant to inform you about some basic emergency preparedness tools and resources and will hopefully inspire you to become more proactive in your planning.

Here is a checklist that is useful in preparing for disaster:

·         Laminated sheet with identification for each family member

·         Laminated sheet with family/friend/caretaker’s emergency contact information

·         7-day supply of medicine in the original bottles if possible

·         Written list of all medications with doctors’ name and phone numbers

·         Glasses, dentures, and hearing aids

·         Medical equipment used on a daily basis

·         Extra batteries

·         Adult diapers or children’s diapers and wipes

·         Special dietary foods, infant formula

·         Food and medication for service animal

·         Clothing for at least a week

·         Pillows

·         Daily toiletries

·         Cell phone with charger

·         Non electronic entertainment

This is not an exhaustive list but it is an excellent start!

Personally, I use the ReadyNC app (free for both Apple and Android users) to alert me of emergencies in my area.  This app also provides real-time information regarding traffic jams, power outages, and open shelters near you.

If you find yourself in an emergency shelter, the ADA does require it be accessible for all.  Without proper planning on the part of emergency managers and shelter operators, however, accessibility could easily be limited when the time comes to actually implement sheltering programs.  Involving community members –both with and without disabilities– in the sheltering planning process itself is a great way to ensure equal access.  After all, these are the individuals who will likely be housed in the shelters themselves.  Click here for the ADA Best Practices Tool Kit for State and Local Governments regarding emergency shelters.  For information on how you can get involved in helping your community prepare for an emergency, click here.

If you are in Wake County, you can sign up to receive emergency notifications here.  If you are an individual who is 65 or older or with a disability, you may be eligible to register for the Citizens Well-check Program.  This program enables Wake County Sheriff’s deputies know whom to check on first in case of disaster.

Sign up for Durham County emergency notifications here.  Durham County also has a Special Needs Shelter Registration that you can sign up for if you will need assistance during an evacuation.

We’d love to hear from you if your community has any emergency-related resources we should know about.

I hope this gives you peace of mind during a natural disaster as it sure has for me!

For more information or to get help preparing for an emergency, please contact the Alliance office at 919-833-1117 and ask to speak to an Independent Living Specialist!