Support blog

Individuals with Disabilities

From: https://www.ready.gov/disability

Disability intersects every demographic group—there are people with disabilities of all ages, races, genders or national origin. And, disabilities can impact a person in a variety of ways—both visible and invisible. For people with disabilities and their families, it is important to consider individual circumstances and needs to effectively prepare for emergencies and disasters. 

Get Informed

Make a Plan

In the event of a disaster could you make it on your own for several days? After a disaster you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drugstore. It’s crucial to plan for your daily needs and know what you would do if they become limited or unavailable. Additional planning steps include:

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Illustration of a boy in a wheelchair and his grandmother making an emergency supply kit.
  • Create a support network of people who can help you in a disaster. Keep a contact list in a watertight container in your emergency kit or on your electronic devices.
  • Inform your support network where you keep your emergency supplies. You may want to consider giving a trusted member a key to your house or apartment.
  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation that you may need for evacuation or getting around during or after disaster. Check with local transit providers as well as with your emergency management agency to identify appropriate accessible options.
  • Many city and county emergency management agencies maintain voluntary registries for people with disabilities to self-identify in order to receive targeted assistance during emergencies and disasters. Contact your local emergency management office to find out more.
  • If you are on dialysis or other life-sustaining medical treatment know the location and availability of more than one facility that can help you.
  • If you use medical equipment in your home that requires electricity, talk to your doctor or health care provider about what you may be able to do to keep it running during a power outage. You can also ask your power provider to put you on a list for priority power restoration.
  • About half of all Americans take a prescription medicine every day. An emergency can make it difficult for them to refill their prescription or to find an open pharmacy. Organize and protect your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins to prepare for an emergency.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets. Also add pertinent medical information to your electronic devices.
  • If you have a communication disability consider carrying printed cards or storing information on your devices to inform first responders and others how to communicate with you.
  • If you use assistive technologies, plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if lost or destroyed. 
  • Locate and access your electronic health records from a variety of sources by using the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ online tool
  • Plan for children and adults who may have difficulty in unfamiliar or chaotic environments. Consider your service or support animal or pets and plan for food, water and supplies. If you need to evacuate, you’ll need to know whether your shelter allows pets or not, since some shelters only allow service or support animals.
  • Keep a list of the nearest medical facilities, local hospitals and nearest transportation.

Get Your Benefits Electronically

A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is an easy way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. If you get federal benefits you can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or sign up online.
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper checks. Call toll-free at 877-212-9991 or sign up online.

Build a Kit

In addition to having your basic survival supplies, an emergency kit should have items to meet your individual needs in various emergencies. Consider the items you use every day and which ones you may need to add to your kit.

Tips for Medications

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how you can create an emergency supply of medicines.
  • Keep a list of your prescription medicines. Include information about your diagnosis, dosage, frequency, medical supply needs and allergies.
  • Store extra nonprescription drugs, like pain and fever relievers, antihistamines and antidiarrheal medicines.
  • Have a cooler and chemical ice packs available to chill medicines that need to be refrigerated.

Tips for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • Weather radio (with text display and a flashing alert)
  • Extra hearing-aid batteries
  • Pen and paper (in case you have to communicate with someone who does not know sign language)
  • Battery operated lantern to enable communication by sign language or lip reading, especially when the electricity is out and it’s dark.

Tips for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

  • Mark emergency supplies with Braille labels or large print. Keep a list of your emergency supplies and where you bought them on a portable flash drive or make an audio file that is kept in a safe place where you can access it.
  • Keep communication devices for your particular needs, such as a Braille or deaf-blind communications device as part of your emergency supply kit.

Tips for People with Speech Disability

  • If you use an augmentative communications device or other assistive technologies plan how you will evacuate with the devices or how you will replace equipment if it is lost or destroyed. Keep model information and note where the equipment came from (Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc.).
  • Plan how you will communicate with others if your equipment is not working, including laminated cards with phrases and/or pictogram.

Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

  • Keep handheld electronic devices charged and loaded with videos and activities.
  • Purchase spare chargers for electronic devices and keep them charged.
  • Include sheets and twine or a small pop-up tent (to decrease visual stimulation in a busy room or to provide instant privacy).
  • Consider a pair of noise-canceling headphones to decrease auditory stimuli.
  • Have comfort snacks available.

Tips for People with a Mobility Disability

  • If you use a power wheelchair have a lightweight manual chair available as a backup if possible.
  • Show others how to assemble, disassemble and operate your wheelchair.
  • Purchase an extra battery for a power wheelchair or other battery-operated medical or assistive technology devices. If you can’t purchase an extra battery, find out what agencies, organizations or local charitable groups can help you buy one. Keep extra batteries charged at all times.
  • Consider keeping a patch kit or can of sealant for flat tires and/or extra inner tube if wheelchair or scooter is not puncture proof.
  • Keep an extra mobility device such as a cane or walker if you use one.
  • Keep a portable air pump for wheelchair tires.
  • If you use a seat cushion to protect your skin or maintain your balance and you must evacuate, consider keeping an extra cushion on hand.
  • Communicate with neighbors who can assist you if you need to evacuate the building.

Tips for Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia

  • Do not leave the person alone. Even those who aren’t prone to wandering away may do so in unfamiliar environments or situations.
  • If evacuating, help manage the change in environment by bringing a pillow and blanket or other comforting items they can hold onto.
  • When at a shelter, try to stay away from exits and choose a quiet corner.
  • If there is an episode of agitation, respond to the emotions being expressed. For example, say “You’re frightened and want to go home. It’s ok. I’m right here with you.”

Additional Items

  • Several days supply of prescription medicines
  • A list of all medications, dosage and any allergies
  • Extra eyeglasses, contacts, hearing aids and batteries
  • A backup supply of oxygen
  • A list of the style and serial number of medical devices (include special instructions for operating your equipment if needed)
  • Copies of insurance and Medicare cards
  • Contact information for doctors, relatives or friends who should be notified if you are hurt
  • Pet food, extra water, collar with ID tag, medical records and other supplies for your service or support animal

Associated Content

Videos (with open captions and ASL)

Personal Disaster Preparedness

We Prepare Everyday

Financial Preparedness Tips

pRINTED fROM https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness

Americans at all income levels have experienced the challenges of rebuilding their lives after a disaster or other emergency. In these stressful times, having access to personal financial, insurance, medical and other records is crucial for starting the recovery process quickly and efficiently.

  1. Gather financial and critical personal, household and medical information.
  2. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
  3. Obtain property (homeowners or renters), health and life insurance if you do not have them. Not all insurance policies are the same. Review your policy to make sure the amount and types of coverage you have meets the requirements for all possible hazards. Homeowners insurance does not typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  4. For more helpful financial preparedness tips, download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to get started planning today.

Be Safe

  • Be cautious about sharing personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number.
  • Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don’t know. Scammers can create fake links to websites.
    • Remember that the government will not call or text you about owing money or receiving economic impact payments.
    • Be aware that scammers may try to contact you via social media. The government will not contact you through social media about owing money or receiving payments.
  • Keep in mind that scammers may try to take advantages of financial fears by calling with work-from-opportunities, debt consolidation offers, and student loan repayment plans.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint if you receive messages from anyone claiming to be a government agent.

Emergency Financial First Aid Kit

The Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a joint publication from Operation Hope and FEMA, can help you prepare financially and provides tips to reduce the financial impact of disasters on you and your family.

For more information on the EFFAK visit the EFFAK Community Page

For Organizations 

Encourage people throughout your organization or workplace to prepare financially. Here are some ideas to promote financial preparedness in your organization:

  • Hold a brown bag meeting.
  • Make a presentation at an existing staff meeting using Safeguard Critical Documents and Valuables to support your discussion.
  • Include financial preparedness information in the staff monthly newsletter.

At Home

Store important documents either in a safety deposit box, an external drive or on the cloud to make it easy to access during a disaster. 

Take time now to safeguard these critical documents. Be cautious about sharing personal financial information, such as your bank account number, social security number, or credit card number.

Household Identification

  • Photo ID (to prove identity of household members)
  • Birth certificate (to maintain or re-establish contact with family members)
  • Social Security card (to apply for FEMA disaster assistance)
  • Military service
  • Pet ID tags

Financial and Legal Documentation

  • Housing payments (to identify financial records and obligations)
    • Some individuals and households may experience financial difficulty because of the pandemic. If you do not think you can pay your loan payments on time, immediately contact your bank and discuss your options before skipping any payments or taking any other actions contrary to the terms of your loans.
  • Insurance policies (to re-establish financial accounts)
  • Sources of income (to maintain payments and credit)
  • Tax statements (to provide contact information for financial and legal providers and to apply for FEMA disaster assistance)

Medical Information

  • Physician information (in case medical care is needed)
  • Copies of health insurance information (to make sure existing care continues uninterrupted)
  • Immunization records
  • Medications

Insurance Information

Having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to make sure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged. Document and insure your property now.

Household Contact Information

  • Banking institutions
  • Insurance agents
  • Health professionals
  • Service providers       
  • Place of worship

Get Your Benefits Electronically

A disaster can disrupt mail service for days or weeks. If you depend on Social Security or other regular benefits, switching to electronic payments is a simple, significant way to protect yourself financially before disaster strikes. It also eliminates the risk of stolen checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury recommends two safer ways to get federal benefits:

  • Direct deposit to a checking or savings account. If you get federal benefits you can sign up by calling 800-333-1795 or sign up online.
  • The Direct Express® prepaid debit card is designed as a safe and easy alternative to paper.

Apply for government-funded unemployment, healthcare, and food and nutrition benefits to supplement your income or savings.

Consider using online and mobile banking services, if you are able. These services enable you to practice social distancing and conduct banking transactions at the same time.

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lIFE iNSURANCE

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, family member, and friend, I have seen firsthand the stress that not having life insurance can have on family and friends. For example, several years ago, I received a call from a local hospital informing me that one of the individuals served by our clinic had died in the emergency room. Upon further review, it was clear that this person had no insurance and limited family support. At that time, like many people, I thought that the government might cover the costs of insurance or that family members would help out. Neither happened. Instead, our team members came together to raise money, negotiated with the funeral director for the lowest price possible, and staff performed the services. Having life insurance for everyone is essential. Ensuring that everyone has a decent burial/funeral is necessary, especially for those who did not receive the dignity and support they deserved in life. While for others, life insurance provides family members/friends with one less concern. Do you have life insurance? If not, click here for information about obtaining life insurance for you and or a loved one. Life insurance is cheaper than you think. Contact Us At (301) 755-5463 or email us at alegree@igbattmho.org