As an amputee, having an emergency strategy that meets your specific medical needs prior to a natural disaster is crucial for several reasons. Above all, it will allow you to be more self-sufficient, especially if you temporarily lose touch with friends or relatives. Being prepared will also ensure your prosthetic equipment is ready and up to the task.
We hope the information below will help you be ready during the storm season.
BE IN THE KNOW.
First of all, contact your local emergency management office to find out where the “disabled safe zones” are held and be sure to map out the quickest routes to them in case you need to evacuate. Also, if you undergo routine medical treatments at a clinic or at home, talk to your care provider about their emergency plans. Similarly, identify where the backup services are located within your area and outside. If you have a service animal, find out which local emergency shelters can accommodate it.
Create a support network that includes relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers and amputee support group members. Once you have your list, exchange contact information with them and plan what to do in case of emergency. Since phones may stop working, think of alternative ways for communicating, designate a meeting place and let them know your plans.
Finally, if you are aware that a storm is expected, reach out to your prosthetist to schedule a prosthetic checkup. Your prosthetist will ensure your prosthesis is ready and can try and help you with any necessary last minute adjustments, accessories and advice. If you reside in flood zones and know you might need to egress in water, ask your prosthetist for directions on how you can help prevent water damage.
Check to see if your community has a special needs registry. A special needs registry is a database containing information about individuals in your community who have disabilities or other special needs that may need assistance in the event of a disaster.
If there is a disaster, those on the registry will be called and given information about how to prepare for or respond to the emergency, offered information regarding facilities or shelters, and asked about their well-being. Individuals on the registry can decide whether to accept assistance or remain responsible for themselves. Check with your county’s government to see if your community has one in place!
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