Preparedness For People With Disabilities
Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere and frequently without warning. Although local agencies will be responding, they cannot be everywhere at once. You may not know when a disaster will strike, but if you are prepared, you will be better able to cope and will recover more quickly from the disaster.
Specific Information for People with Disabilities in the Event of a Power Outage
- If you use a battery-operated wheelchair, life-support system, or other power-dependent equipment, call your power company and advise them in advance. Many utility companies keep a list and a map of the locations of power-dependent customers in case of an emergency. Contact the customer service department of your local utility companies to learn if this service is available in your community.
- If you use a motorized wheelchair or scooter, have an extra battery. A car battery also can be used with a wheelchair, but it will not last as long as a wheelchair’s deep-cycle battery. If available, store a lightweight manual wheelchair for backup.
- If you are blind or have a visual disability, store a talking or Braille clock or large-print timepiece with extra batteries.
- If you are deaf or have a hearing loss, consider getting a small portable battery-operated television set. Emergency broadcasts may give information in American Sign Language (ASL) or closed captioning.
Electronic payments for federal benefit recipients
If you depend on the mail for your Social Security or disability benefits, keep in mind a disaster can disrupt mail service for days or even weeks. Switching to electronic payments is one simple, significant way people can protect themselves financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks.
- Keep specialized items ready including extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, prescriptions, food for service animals, and any other items you might need.
- Be sure to make provisions for medications that require refrigeration.
- Keep a list of the type and model numbers of the medical devices you require.