Celebrating September as National Preparedness Month, local Health Departments are reminding those with access and function-based needs to make extra efforts to prepare for emergencies. These needs might include communication issues such as a hearing loss or speaking English as a second language, or medical issues such as a need for oxygen or the use of assistive devices such as a wheelchair.
Every person’s needs are unique, and only that person truly knows what they are capable of; they are the best judge of what specialized help would be needed in an emergency. It is best to establish a network of family, neighbors, and friends who are knowledgeable of their situation and who can help when needed.
If someone is receiving regular in home or office setting medical care, they should discuss with their providers what services might be available during emergencies, and where they might look to find alternative help outside of their area.
Lists of medications, their dosage, and other instructions, as well as contact information for health care providers should be updated quarterly and kept in a “go kit” that would include everything you might need for at least two days. If personal assistant animals are involved, then their needs must be taken into account as well. Pack a separate “go kit” for them with food, a water dish, and other items for them, including rabies vaccination information and any other official paperwork.
Residents should think about what items, unique to them, would be needed during an evacuation. Eye glasses, hearing aids, extra batteries, cords for oxygen generators, and any other special equipment must be planned for. It cannot be assumed that an evacuation center or a family host will have all that would be needed.
We’re All in this Together! Take all considerations to protect our loved ones. For more information on personal emergency planning, visit the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at http://www.mass.gov/mema.