Family Disaster Planning

From "Family Disaster Plan." developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.

Create a Personalized Disaster Plan
Shelter-in-Place in an Emergency
What special needs and abilities do blind and visually impaired household members have?

Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away.

Four Steps to Safety
  1. Find Out What Could Happen to You Contact your local Red Cross chapter or emergency management office before a disaster occurs--be prepared to take notes. Ask what types of disasters are most likely to happen. Request information on how to prepare for each. Learn about your community's warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do when you hear them. Ask about animal care after a disaster. Animals are not allowed inside emergency shelters because of health regulations. Find out how to help elderly or disabled persons, if needed. Find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or day care center, and other places where your family spends time.
  2. Create a Disaster Plan Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case. Pick two places to meet: Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number. Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact's phone number. Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Plan how to take care of your pets.
  3. Complete This Checklist Home Hazard Hunt
  4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan
If Disaster Strikes

Remember to...

For households with one or more disabled member, NHEST and Penobscot REACT suggest these additions.
  1. Make sure emergency supplies are kept in the same place at all times. Check frequently and make sure all members of the household realize the importance of this placing.
  2. Label supplies according to sensory abilities, ie, Braille or other touch method for blind, color for dyslexic, etc.
  3. Good advice for all is to keep food, water, and medical supplies fresh. Rotate on a regular basis.
  4. Make special arrangements for any service animal in the household.
  5. Seek advice and suggestions from agencies or organizations with whom you work.
  6. Use the abilities of all. If the lights go out in an emergency, ask the blind member of your household for guidance. He/she will be used to operating without sight.
  7. Use a simple family service 2-way radio set to maintain links to others in your neighborhood. Practice the links and check the batteries in the radios regularly. Choose a channel all can operate on. This will help you to protect yourself and your neighbors. Use care and select a model that you can operate easily.
  8. Consider volunteering to assist your community in times of emergency. Write us for suggestions. Blind and visually impaired people serve their communities with great skill and dedication in communications and other areas. But your first job is to see to the security of your home and family.
Remember that the better prepared you are, the better your chances will be of coming through a disaster unscathed. And you will help your community at the same time.

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