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Emergency preparedness covers many possible situations and plans that people with disabilities should consider. Over the past year, the Endependence Center has conducted monthly emergency preparedness webinars covering topics related to planning for and handling various emergencies that may occur. These included emergencies such as extreme cold, extreme heat, hurricanes, tornadoes, and pandemics. At the end of each webinar, the Endependence Center mailed out to all webinar participants an item to place in their “to go” kit, with the goal being by the end of the last webinar, all webinar participants will have prepared their “to go” kits and will have finalized their emergency preparedness plans.

It is important to plan before an emergency and not wait until the emergency happens. As people with disabilities, we are responsible for and should remain in control of preparing and acting in an emergency. We should have several trusted people in our lives who are fully informed about our emergency plans, including what supplies we have, what supplies we need, our evacuation plans, and medical information. In addition, we should have multiple “to go” kits: one to keep at home and one to carry with us. Our kits should include basic emergency supplies as well as supplies for specific medical and disability related needs.

If you do not have a “to go” kit and notified friends and family what you will need before, during and after an emergency – now is the time to take care of these important tasks. What should be in your “to go” kit? Who will you rely on for assistance before, during and after an emergency? How have you communicated with them so that they know you may need their assistance? If you need to evacuate in an emergency, where will you go? How will you safely get there? Who will you stay with and where? Contact your Independent Living Coordinator at the Endependence Center if you would like to explore these questions with someone.

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