EVERY INDIVIDUAL CAN TAKE IMPORTANT STEPS TO PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES AND PUT PLANS IN PLACE IN CASE OF A DISASTER IN YOUR COMMUNITY. IF YOU HAVE A DISABILITY OR OTHER ACCESS OR FUNCTIONAL NEED, YOU MAY HAVE TO TAKE ADDITIONAL STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

MARCIE ROTH: People with disabilities, and people who have access and functional needs, have to take a very proactive position in their personal preparedness.

NEIL McDEVITT: If you think about it, we do it every day. We’re ready for the next little disaster that we will face every day.

RICHARD DEVYLDER: I always say prepare as if no one’s coming to rescue you. Because the reality is in a moderate or large event, no one is coming to rescue you anytime soon.

MARCIE ROTH: It may be a very short period of time, it may be a more extended period of time. But you need to prepare as if, you’re not going to have any of the resources that you might typically depend on.

NEIL McDEVITT: The best way, people can start to plan, is by looking at the individual parts of their daily lives. And figuring out where the potential gaps are.

RICHARD DEVYLDER: Do an inventory of yourself, do an inventory of the things that you use on a daily basis, um to be living independently, and then think about what is essential? THINK ABOUT THE STRATEGIES, SERVICES, DEVICES, TOOLS AND TECNHIQUES YOU USE TO LIVE WITH A DISABILITY ON A DAILY BASIS. THESE MAY INCLUDE: MEDICATIONS, DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT, SERVICE ANIMALS, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, COMMUNICATIONS TOOLS, AND TRANSPORTATION.

RICHARD DEVYLDER: You really have to be focused as to what are your needs? If you end up gong to a shelter for four or five days. Or if you’re stuck and sheltering in place, because people just can’t get to you, what are the essential things that you’re going to need to be able to survive?

MARCIE ROTH: As you think about assembling a support team, you need to be thinking about who are the people in your workplace, who are the people in your neighborhood, who are the people in your community who might be able to assist you. GO OVER YOUR EMERGENCY PLAN WITH EVERYONE IN YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK. MAKE SURE THAT SOMEONE IN YOUR PERSONAL SUPPORT NETWORK HAS AN EXTRA KEY TO YOUR HOME AND KNOWS WHERE YOU KEEP YOUR EMERGENCY SUPPLIES. AND TEACH THEM HOW TO USE ANY LIFESAVING EQUIPMENT OR ADMINISTER MEDICINE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

MARCIE ROTH: It’s important that you find out in those places where you receive services on a regular basis, you find out what their emergency plans are. Ask them! If you are a person who gets dialysis, what are their emergency plans? If you’re a person who uses paratransit services – what are their emergency plans for providing paratransit? A STANDARD EMERGENCY KIT INCLUDES FOOD WATER AND MEDICINE TO SUSTAIN ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD FOR AT LEAST THREE DAYS. VISIT READY DOT GOV FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF SUGGESTED ITEMS, ALONG WITH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOW TO PREPARE A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN.

MARCIE ROTH: Everybody needs to have a kit. And a kit really needs to have some very basic things in it. Some water, some food. But then you’re doing to want to customize that kit. To make sure that it has the things that you need. INDIVIDUALS WITH ACCESS AND FUNCTIONAL NEEDS MAY WANT TO CONSIDER SOME OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS: EXTRA GLASSES OR HEARING AIDS BATTERY CHARGERS OR EXTRA BATTERIES, COPIES OF MEDICAL PRESCRIPTIONS, SUPPLIES FOR SERVICE ANIMALS AND NECESSARY MEDICAL SUPPLIES VISIT READY.GOV FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF SUGGESTED EMERGENCY ITEMS FOR PEOPLE WITH ACCESS & FUNCTIONAL NEEDS

NEIL McDEVITT: People with disabilities and access and functional needs are their own emergency managers. They know what they need on an everyday basis. And what my kit looks like is very different than somebody else’s kit.

MARCIE ROTH: You want to be thinking about what is it going to take for you both in your home and out of your home, to be able to maintain your health, your safety, your independence for a period of a few hours to perhaps a few days. Preparedness is actually a 365 day a year activity that all of us should take very seriously. It’s important that every day we do a little something to keep ourselves as prepared as we possibly can.

NEIL McDEVITT: The most empowering thing you can do, is take charge, for yourself. During disasters. During the little storms, and the big storms. And that’s probably the most positive thing you can ever do for yourself as a person. Because that gives you control. That gives you control over the outcomes.

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