Disaster preparation top 10 list

Hurricane Katrina demonstrated the vulnerability of people with disablities. What can you, as a disabled person, do for yourself, your family, and others to mitigate the effects of a disaster?

  1. If the infrastructure is down, don’t expect outside help for 72 hours. Have your own plan.
  2. Determine the events possible and their potential in your community. Discuss these possibilities with your family or household.
  3. Choose an out-of-town contact your family or household will call or e-mail to check on each other should a disaster occur. Your selected contact should live far enough away that they would be unlikely to be directly affected by the same event, and they should know they are the chosen contact.
  4. Establish a meeting place. Having a predetermined meeting place away from your home will save time and minimize confusion should your home be affected or the area evacuated.
  5. Check on the school emergency plan of any school-age children you may have.
  6. Assemble a disaster supplies kit. If you need to evacuate your home or are asked to "shelter in place," having some essential supplies on hand will make you and your family more comfortable.
  7. An orange bicyclist’s vest and a whistle will help people find you if you venture out. Have an extra folding cane or extra food for your dog. Gloves will protect your hands. Dog booties will protect their pads from broken glass.
  8. Have a good mental map of your area and familiarize yourself with exists at your workplace.
  9. If first-aid training or emergency training is available, take advantage of it.
  10. Be involved in your community and vote. Make yourself known. Check to see if there is an emergency response team in your area.

Sources: American Council of the Blind, ACB Radio’s Marlaina Lieberg, Des Moines Police Chief, Roger Baker, Washington Council of the Blind

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