Access & Functional Needs

For people with access and functional needs, being prepared means taking into account some additional considerations.

For example, individuals who rely on caregivers to support their daily independence must realize that they may lose this support during a large emergency.

Have you thought about what could replace this support - perhaps a neighbor or family member nearby? Stocking some additional equipment or supplies so that they are accessible? What about if transportation needs exist? Management of medical conditions?

The National Organization on Disability recommends the following:

1. Learn about the hazards that may affect your community, and determine if the plans in place have considered your functional needs.

2. Consider how a disaster may impact your daily routine. What are your specific needs? What will you have? What will you need? What will be missing?

3. Identify your resources (family, friends, co-workers, personal attendants, service providers, etc.) who could be included in your plan

4. Work with these resources to develop a clear process to make sure that impacts to your daily life are as minimal as possible. Include:

-The ways that you can communicate with each other (contact information) as well as ways to get in touch if phones/power are out.

- Evacuation needs. Make sure that you know where/how to get assistance or a ride if you need one, and that multiple exits are identified.

- Different ways of sheltering. Do you have what you need to stay put? Consider how to shelter with friends or family. Think about how a shelter designed for the public would/would not work for you - How can you be prepared to make it better?

- If you receive regular services, like home health care or dialysis, make a plan with each provider. This includes identifying a back-up so your services do not get disrupted.

5. After identifying what you have, build your supply kit around your own personal needs. Include medical equipment, assistive devices, medications, a hard copy of contact information, medical records, and batteries.

Preparing for Disasters: Access and Functional Needs