Individuals with handicaps may require additional planning. If you have special needs — or are a caregiver for someone with special needs — take the following actions to ensure emergency preparedness.
- Create a functional needs Ready Kit — Use the Ready Kit template for basic provisions, then determine what other items need to be included to sustain you independently for three days. These can include:
- Medical equipment
- Assistive technology, oxygen, etc.
- Special food, if required
- Diabetic supplies
- A TTY, pen, and paper
- Hearing aids and batteries
- Extra eyeglasses
- Copies of medical insurance and Medicare cards
If you have a medication that needs to be refrigerated, include a cold bag and an instant cold pack, which can be purchased at your local Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, or drug store. If you use a service animal, make sure your Ready Kit includes dog food, a water bowl, and extra water.
- Build a support network — Create a support network of friends, relatives, and neighbors who can help you out. Make sure everybody knows how to operate any key equipment such as wheelchairs or mobilizing devices. Keep a written list of these contacts handy and in your Ready Kit.
- Wear medical alert tags or other identification — In the event of any emergency, medical alert bracelets, tags, or other identification can help those assisting you. Make sure this includes any medicines, physical impairments, or communications disabilities.
- Plan for loss of power or an evacuation — Make preparations for your support network to help you evacuate if necessary. If you require electricity for critical medical equipment, plan for what might be needed during a power outage. This could include extra batteries, a generator, or other backup tools. If you require dialysis or other life-sustaining equipment, find out where the nearest facilities are. Discuss your needs with your physician and make provisions ahead of time.