Tips for emergency managers and shelter operators:
Planning for diverse population in a disaster means working with a whole community approach. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your local emergency planning organizations or regional and national assisted living and care organizations. A critical aspect of inclusive planning would be to include people with disabilities, leaders in the disability community, and disability support and advocacy organizations in all phases of emergency management- including planning. Some states have begun Special CERT teams for response to persons with access or functional needs.
The FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination website also has a lot of great preparedness resources for individuals, inclusive emergency management resources for communities, and tips and tools for effective communication with people with disabilities and access and functional needs "Having an inclusive planning group is going to make any tool you use more effective by making it more likely that people in the disability community know about and understand the tool, bringing to light any potential barriers or complications, and adding knowledge of community resources that can enhance the effectiveness of that tool." says Jessica Mitchell the Region V Disability Integration Specialist with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Some of the following organizations have committed to working on emergency preparedness and are in every state in the country. They would be valuable contacts as well.
Tips for people with disabilities and functional needs:
Strategies, Services, Devices, Tools and Techniques for people with access and functional needs. Privacy is important to personal medical needs and care, but planning for assistance before, during and after emergency means making educated choices on what information you choose to share in order to be better prepared. What should you include in your plan?
1. Medicines including Durable medical equipment and Consumable medical supplies. Make a list of medicines and contact information for your medical care team and pharmacies and keep it in your go-kit.
2. Pre-register for key services, some power companies have registries for electricity dependent individuals, some counties have vulnerable population registries for individuals who need assistance with hurricane shutters or evacuation assistance.
4. Plan for your Service Animal (See our blog tips for service animals)
5. Assistive Technology - loss of assistive technology could severely impact mobility or ability to communicate, write down your names, model numbers and keep a list in your go-kit.
6. Communications tools
7. Accessible shelter/housing
8. Transportation needs
9. Inform your Support Network, Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster
10. Pack go-kits for you and your service animal
Follow us in social media this week as we release information for vulnerable populations using hashtag #DAFN.