September is National Preparedness Month. Hurricane season began June 1 and goes through November 30. Being prepared for a hurricane or other disaster is a part of maintaining your independence. Each person with a disability should develop a Personalized Emergency Plan that can be implemented during a disaster.
SUPPLY KIT When preparing, add supplies that you will likely need for an evacuation or to shelter-in-place. Be sure to include items specific to your disability. You should also have important documents (insurance policies, personal documents). Supply kits should be able to cover three – five days.
SUPPORT NETWORK Establish a personal support network of people who will check with you and assist you when needed (e.g. family, caregivers, friends, neighbors, co-workers).
GET PREPARED Keep your cell phones charged, as well as any electronics you may need. Prepare your home. As a general rule, make sure you have enough water, non-perishable food, and any medications for each member of your family/support system (pets included) for at least three – five days.
MAKE A PLAN Decide ahead of time how you and your family will react if and when a disaster comes. Ready.gov has specific lists for people with disabilities of what you should consider when creating your plan. You can find it here: People with Disabilities | Ready.gov.
STAY INFORMED Local emergency management offices are able to send you messages about emergencies, evacuation orders, and shelter information. Check news and social media to stay up to date. FEMA has published a guide with steps to take for many different disasters based on the current situation (advisory, watch, or warning). You can find it here: A Guide for Alerts and Warnings (ready.gov)
KNOW YOUR ZONE Use this website to determine your evacuation zone: Virginia Know Your Zone (arcgis.com).