How do I keep family members with special needs safe?

During high winds and severe weather, most emergency vehicles cannot come and pic up those with special needs.  Please make arrangements early.

Notify your health agency where you will be during a hurricane and when care can be re-established.  Contact your physician if you are homebound and under the care of a physician but not a home health agency.  If you require respirators or other electric-dependent medical equipment, you should make prior medical arrangements with your physician.

If you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans. If you evacuate, remember to bring medications, written instructions regarding your care, your walker, wheelchair, cane, or special equipment along with your bedding.

If you do not evacuate, keep a list of names and phone numbers of friends or family so you can make quick arrangements to stay with them in the event of a power interruption.  Also, locate the nearest hospital that can help provide emergency power for your life support equipment.

Most utility companies do give priority to life support customers during isolated electric outages. But be aware that during a time of a citywide outage from a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, it is often impossible to give priority because of the extent of damage and the order in which power must be restored.

For disabled and elderly citizens with special needs that hinder them from being able to comprehend the seriousness of an emergency, you can be a part of a care program to offer assistance to those family members by:

  • Educating and physically helping them prepare their homes and property.

  • Helping them shop for necessary supplies.

  • Helping them create and post their Emergency Preparedness Plan in a visible location as a reminder to them and others.

For special needs family members in nursing homes, you can ensure the safety of your family member by inquiring if their healthcare providers are adequately prepared for the situation.  these agencies should have:

  • A disaster plan in placed that is reviewed annually by administration and staff.

  • Policies that provide for in-house emergency preparedness training for employees.

  • Identification procedures for patients such as hands or cards that indicate names, ages, medical conditions, etc.

  • Transportation agreements for evacuations

  • Maps of evacuation routes highlighted.

  • Transfer forms readily available authorizing admissions into hospital facilities when necessary.

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