Would you need special help in an emergency?
If you have a disability that may cause you to need special help in an emergency, please fill out and return a new Special Needs Card annually to Emergency Management, Vermont Dept of Public Safety, 230 Main Street Suite 306, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
When a disaster occurs, the first priority of disaster relief organizations and government agencies is to provide basic needs such as food, water and safe shelter to everyone who needs them. Your personal needs, such as replacing medications, replacing adaptive equipment, restoring electricity for power dependent equipment and restoring your regular way of support for daily living activities may not happen immediately. You should also be ready to meet your specific disability related needs by storing sufficient oxygen, medications, battery power, etc. for at least seven days after a disaster.
Preparing for a disaster that may happen in your area will help you be prepared for any disaster. Vermont is most prone to flooding, winter storms and ice storms. Even if you have a physical limitation, you can still protect yourself by having a plan so that you can respond quickly and efficiently to an emergency. Plan and practice the best escape routes from your home and place of work. Post emergency phone numbers near the phone. Arrange to have a “contact” – someone who will call and check on you in the event of an emergency. Teach those who may need to assist you how to operate necessary equipment.
If you receive home care, coordinate with your home care provider for evacuation procedures. Let others know when you leave and where you are going. Make arrangements for pets – they are not allowed in public shelters.
For more information, refer to Emergency Preparedness Links provided by the State of Vermont’s Department of Public Safety. Also see the Green Mountain Emergency Preparedness Project, a Project of the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion at UVM.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides information for people with disabilities or other access and functional needs in the Make A Family Plan Emergency Guide, as well as a nice section to involve kids in the planning process.