All citizens, including those with disabilities, should be prepared for a possible emergency situation. Disasters, whether man-made or natural such as hurricanes and earthquakes, can leave many people unprepared to deal with the aftermath of the disaster. People with disabilities may need to take extra precautions due to limitations and medical needs. The following information will guide people with disabilities, as well as the people who support them, with information on how to be prepared for an emergency situation.
The Ready campaign suggests three important steps to being prepared:
The first step is to develop an emergency kit of supplies. Customizing your kit can be especially important if you rely on assistive technology, medicine or use a service animal. For suggestions on customizing your kit, visit http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/disabled.html.
In addition to having emergency supplies, people with disabilities will need to make special plans and preparations in the event of an emergency situation. The following tips will assist in planning and preparation if an emergency arises:
- Contact your local emergency management office and register with them as an individual with disabilities or special needs. In Delaware, visit the Delaware Emergency Management Agency at 877-729-3362, or visit their website at www.dema.delaware.gov for more information.
- (DEMA) Emergency Preparedness Voluntary Registry for Individuals with Special Needs
- Create a personal support network of family and friends who will support you and your disability needs.
- Familiarize you personal support network with your disability needs such as how to operate tools and aids.
- Create a list of telephone numbers and addresses of your personal support network and develop a plan that will allow you to keep in contact with your network before, during, and after a disaster strikes.
- Make plans in advance for your service animal or pets.
- If you need to evacuate, consider how you will evacuate and where you will go.
How will you stay informed during an emergency? The Delaware Emergency Notification System and the Emergency Alert System Radio Stations are the primary means of alerting the public when there is a potential threat to safety. Find out more at http://www.preparede.org/home/stay-informed.
The following is a list of local and national resources to assist people with disabilities in emergency preparedness.
Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA)
DEMA is the lead state agency for coordination of comprehensive emergency preparedness, training, response, recovery, and mitigation services in order to save lives, protect Delaware’s economic base, and reduce the impact of emergencies. DEMA is a division within the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Delaware Citizen Corps
Delaware Citizen Corps was created to help all Delawareans answer questions of emergency preparedness through public education, community outreach, training, and volunteer service. Delaware Citizen Corps has extensive web links on emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.
The American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula
The American Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
Delaware Animal Disaster Services
The mission of the Delaware Disaster Service is to encourage guidance for families in preparing for disasters and to promote the safety and well being of all animals that may be adversely affected during any type of disaster.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with The Advertising Council, has sponsored a campaign to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all kinds of emergencies. Ready America offers preparedness resources for people with disabilities (http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/disabled.html) and for seniors (http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/seniors.html).
DOJ ADA Best Practices Toolkit
Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities in Disasters
FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities
Federal Disability Portal