After a natural disaster, there are a number of people who find themselves without resources. Many are missing clothes, shelter, food, and even hygiene products–not to mention the stability and predictability of the routines they desperately need.
For someone with a developmental disability, a natural disaster could mean that you’re without some of the aids that help you function. Most shelters don’t offer assistive devices for people with disabilities, and replacing any of these aids that may have been damaged could take a large amount of time–which means it’s essential to prepare a plan before a disaster strikes. Additionally, people with developmental or intellectual disabilities may suffer mental anguish over the suddenly stressful situation. A good plan doesn’t just take into account physical needs; it includes mental and emotional needs, too.
All of this can be true of inclement weather, too. An unexpected snowstorm can trap people in their houses, which means they can’t get to a store–and that makes planning ahead incredibly important.
Evacuating from your home when there is a natural disaster is already difficult, but the task can become more difficult for someone with a disability–especially if there’s no plan to follow. Creating an evacuation plan is as simple as finding a program that will have the resources people with disabilities need in case of an evacuation. The Emergency & Evacuation Assistance Program (EEAP) is a specialized program that focuses on residents that require special assistance during an evacuation or emergency because of their disability.
Keep in mind that someone with a developmental disablity may be extremely distressed in this type of situation. Create a strategy to help them stay calm and get to a safe place where they feel as secure as possible.
Personal Emergency Plan
A natural disaster can alter everyday life for a few days or a few months. This can pose a real problem for someone with a developmental disability. If there is no way to to evacuate during a natural disaster, it is crucial to have an emergency plan. An emergency plan can be tailored to accommodate your everyday life. It’s best if your plan is finished and frequently kept up to date; a plan is no good if it’s outdated or incomplete. Here are a few things your emergency plan should address:
- Medications and vaccinations
- Daily living needs
- Communication/emotional needs
- Important documents
- Medical information
- Contact information
- Health summary
Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities
If you or a loved one has a developmental disability and you would like to learn more about the resources that ACDD has to offer, contact us today.