Emergency Preparedness for Natural Disaster
With recent events, I wanted to stress the importance of planning for a natural disaster. I am in an area where we are having tornados. Caregivers have the responsibility to be able to provide emergency care for their loved ones, even in a tornado.
The best way to do this is to figure out what you would do in the type of natural disaster for your area. This is a broad guideline that you will have to tailor to your area.
1. Find out about individual assistance that may be available in your community. It is possible that in your area there are agencies that you can register so that they know you have someone who needs special care. I would talk to the Red Cross to begin with and they can tell you what agencies you might be able to register with.
2. As you prepare, consider all everything you use for your loved one with a disability on a daily basis. You may need medications, certain medical equipment and supplies, service animal, etc.
3. Talk to those around you so that they know your plan. Involve them in the plan if you are planning on using them as backup to help. Make sure they know how to use any equipment you use with your loved one.
Keep your caregiver manual up to date and make sure you take it with you. This will help anyone that has to provide emergency care know doctors, diagnosis, medications, emergency numbers,etc.
You might have to explain to emergency people why you need to evacuate first in order to protect your loved one. Some shelters are hesitant to take service animals but legally they have to.
4. Make a bag up that you can grab if you have to evacuate quickly. Here is a list of a few thing but not all you may need. Some of it should be in your caregiver binder already.
List of medications, doctors, emergency numbers, allergies, etc.
Chargers and batteries for any devices you use daily that you can take with you
If you have a service animal, food for it. Documentation that it is a service animal.
If you have to use a device to communicate with your loved one, you need to be able to grab it and go!
Any medical supplies you use regularly like bandages, insulin, needles, catheters, depends, portable oxygen tank etc.
5. Try to think of what you would need if you ended up in a shelter to take care of your loved one. There is no way you can pack everything but you should take what is essential to keep your loved one alive.
Make a list and stick it on the fridge so that you use it so that you don’t forget something in your haste to move to safety.
Of course, if it is necessary, just grab your loved one and go! The Red Cross and other organizations can usually get supplies but if you can take it with you, you will feel better.