“September is National Disaster Preparedness Month (NPM) so why not take some time to help prepare one of our more vulnerable populations in our community,” Cal Fire Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado-Sacramento Unit said, referring to those with access or functional needs or disabilities. “Everyone’s needs are unique and some may require a little more planning than others, but if you begin today and pledge to prepare for a disaster, you can soon rest assured you have done everything you can do to prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”
Start by giving some serious thought to what you rely on each and every day, what you can do without and what you must have for sustaining life. Make a list and begin putting your disaster preparedness plan into action.
Create a kit that has all the supplies one would need to be on their own for a minimum of three days without public utilities such as power and water. Remember, you may not have access to stores, gas stations or even medical facilities.
Plan how you would evacuate from your home and where you could evacuate to in the event that is necessary. Are there special needs such as electricity for medical devices that you must plan for in advance?
Talk to your caregivers, family, friends and neighbors and share your plan and see where they might fit in to assist you if they are available to do so and if you need assistance.
Practice your disaster preparedness plan with your support group, test your communications plan to see how it works and adjust your plans to the time of year and type of disaster you are preparing for.
“There are many excellent Websites available that can aid you in facilitating your plan. Below is a list of just a few of them for your review. Remember Winston Churchill’s famous line, ‘He who fails to plan is planning to fail,’” said Keenan.
• Cal Fire’s Ready-Set-Go program at readyforwildfire.org
• FEMA at ready.gov/individuals-access-functional-needs
• FEMA at fema.gov/office-disability-integration-coordination
• National Preparedness Community at community.fema.gov/connect.ti/readynpm/groupHome
• Red Cross at redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/disabilities
• Disability at disability.gov/emergency_preparedness
• CDC at emergency.cdc.gov/mentalhealth
• Service Animals dol.gov/odep/pubs/ep/serviceanimals.htm
• Humane Society at humanesociety.org/issues/animal_rescue/tips/pets-disaster.html.