R U Ready??? Emergency Preparedness in Disability World

 

Portlight Strategies is a wonderful organization that serves people with disabilities and their families when disaster strikes.  Paul Timmons started the program after hurricane Katrina. He was disgusted that some groups were trying to raise beaucoup bucks to set up an 800 number for post disaster calls while Paul and his wife Kelly were on the scene delivering wheelchairs and other supplies. Portlight has responded to disaster in concrete ways on the scene when and where disaster strikes. Support Portlight and make your own disaster plan.

 My consciousness was raised by Katrina as well. A dear friend repeatedly tried to secure transit for a person with quadriplegia in New Orleans.  That person had called ahead but no one came. My friend stayed on the phone with her as the waters rose and she drowned. This tragic death could have so easily been averted. That woman’s story is etched in my heart.My friend went on to head up accessible emergency preparedness for the federal government. There is a challenge which she will be working at for some time.

 Visit www.portlight.org for more information.

 Disabled World posted a great blog which we are reprinting below.  http://t.co/XuiH3wkAc9 #RUReady? 

Disaster and Emergency Planning for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities
People need to plan for emergency evacuation in anticipated and unanticipated situations including chemical, biological, radiological, explosion, transportation accidents, fire, floods, earthquakes, mud slides, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms power outages, etc.

For the millions of people with disabilities around the world, surviving a disaster can be just the beginning of a greater struggle.

For people with disabilities, barrier free, as well as, barrier-ridden environments become a great deal more hostile and difficult to deal with during and after an emergency. For example, people with physical disabilities may have reduced ability to get to accessible exits, as well as reduced access to their personal items and emergency supplies. People with vision and hearing loss and people with speech related disabilities often encounter many more communication barriers, especially when regular communication channels are down or overloaded. These barriers appear at a time when rapid communication may be crucial to survival and safety.

Emergency, or disaster, planning includes preparing organizations and staff to deal with natural and manmade disasters; to support people with disabilities in preparing for a disaster; and to provide education and information to ensure local and statewide emergency officials are fully prepared to address the needs of people with disabilities in the event of an emergency. Often the needs of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness are unaddressed or plans are not well coordinated, leaving individuals with disabilities unnecessarily vulnerable in the event of an emergency.

The critical needs of individuals with disabilities during an emergency include the evacuation of transit systems, getting to safe shelter in the event of a natural disaster, and full access to transportation systems when there is a need to evacuate a particular location.

If you or someone close to you has a disability or a special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your family in an emergency.

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