Ahh Spring; Preparing for Disasters with a Disability

AH  SPRING!  It’s finally here.  Just when I’m feeling all up-beat about the awakening of the earth, the budding of the trees, the joy of longer days of sunshine coaxing the flowers to bloom, the newscasts remind me that it’s also a time to get ready for possible damaging storms.  To me, this is the only negative thought of the season of Spring.

In my life experience, I’ve learned that most negative thoughts can be replaced by a positive attitude.  So I just gather my emergency preparedness items and realize how blessed I’ve been to live through a handful of tornadoes and am no worse for the wear – because I’ve been prepared.  I’ve got my flashlight, radio, extra batteries, some candles and matches – in a watertight container.  I keep a blanket handy, along with my bicycle helmet and a hatchet.  My cell phone is always near, and I have a stash of granola bars, nuts and raisins, peanut butter and crackers, and jugs of water.  If things get bad, I even have a first aid kit.  At the risk of sounding boastful, I even keep my pet taxi handy to keep my pet safe. So I figure I pretty well know how to play the disaster preparedness game.   Until I received the Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs from the Illinois Terrorism Task Force.

I was amazed at how poorly I’ve been prepared for weather, or any other type of disaster!  This handy publication has chapters with specific disaster tip with titles such as:  Cognitive Impairments, Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Life Support Systems, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems, Mobility Impairments,  Senior, Service Animals and Pets, and Visual Impairments.  There are several pages listing what should be in a Disaster Kit, and a form for you to make your own Health Card.  It also includes several Agency references and the FEMA Guide:  Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilites and Other Special Needs.  Go online to check it out: http://www.illinois.gov/ready/SiteCollectionDocuments/PreparednessTips_FunctionalNeeds.pdf.